Russian double agent convinces 11 troops to defect to Ukraine in daring mission

Shoigu plans military operation in Ukraine until at least 2025

A Russian double-agent military officer managed to convince 11 of his comrades to join him in defecting to Ukraine.

It is a bitter blow for Vladimir Putin’s forces, amid reports of frontline forces struggling for morale.

Lieutenant Danila Alfyorov, a career military officer, was unveiled at an extraordinary press conference today.

He has been working with Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR) since July after he contacted the Ukrainian side through the ‘Want to Live’ project, which encourages Russian soldiers to surrender.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesman for HUR, said the secretive operation was titled ‘Barynia’.

According to Mr Yusov, the daring double agent convinced and transferred 11 Russian servicemen as prisoners of war in several batches.

Mr Alfyorov said: “The Ukrainian side offered me to find Russian military personnel who want to surrender as POWs under the ‘Want to Live’ program.

“During the period of cooperation, I managed to bring three groups of military personnel to captivity.

“After I began to be suspected, I told my handler from ‘Want to Live’ that I was done.

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“Once on Ukrainian territory and having met the Ukrainian special forces, I underwent all the procedures envisaged for captured Russian military personnel.”

When his top-secret role was uncovered, and his life at risk, Ukraine swooped in to rescue him to extract Mr Alfyorov to Ukrainian territory securely.

It comes just a month after Russia suffered another devastating defection when a Russian Mi-8 helicopter pilot landed on a Ukrainian air base.

That incident was the culmination of a secret plot by the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence.

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The Russian pilot, 28-year-old Maksim Kuzminov, will receive a reward of $500,000, according to a law signed in April 2022.

The defection is the latest blow to Vladimir Putin after a humiliating Russian mishap on the battlefield led to Russia shooting down one of its own fighter jets.

On Friday, reports suggested that Russia’s most advanced fighter jet had been shot down in an incident involving the country’s own air defence systems.

The plane reportedly crashed near Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia Oblast with footage appearing to capture the moment the aircraft was blown out of the sky.

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