It’s claimed that a Russian military pilot has defected at the United States (US) Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while on holiday with his family.
Unconfirmed reports claim that senior lieutenant Gavrichenko of the Russian Guard aviation squadron was on holiday in Dubai in September 2023 when he surrendered to officials at the US Embassy in the UAE.
According to the Telegraph channel Spy Dossier, the pilot entered the building stating that he refused to fight and expressing his willingness to cooperate.
It is currently unclear whether the Gavrichenko, who allegedly holds the callsign ‘Le Havre’, planned the holiday in Dubai hoping to defect or made the decision on impulse while he was there.
Spy Dossier suggests that he may have been encouraged to defect by a friend and former colleague who now lives in the US.
Anton Gerashchenko, a former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, also shared details of the defection on social media.
Reportedly, another Russian pilot escaped Russia and turned himself in to the US embassy.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 2, 2023
A Russian Guards pilot Gavrichenko, callsign "Gavr", went on vacation with his family to the UAE. Having arrived there, he went to the US embassy and declared he didn't want to fight…
According to the Spy Dossier Telegram channel, which claims to be run by an “employee of one of the special services”, the Federal Security Service (FSB) is already investigating the incident.
Colleagues of Gavrichenko are allegedly being questioned and personal belongings such as mobile phones are being searched.
In August 2023, Maxim Kuzminov, a Russian Mi-8 helicopter pilot landed in Ukraine after contacting the Ukrainian military intelligence service (GUR) about his wish to defect.
The mission lasted over six months and concluded with the Russian pilot rerouting his Mi-8 AMTSh assault transport helicopter during a logistical flight between two airbases, transporting parts intended for Su-27 and Su-30SM fighter jets.
The family of the pilot was evacuated from Russian territory by the GUR.