A Russian pilot on vacation with his family in the United Arab Emirates, went to the U.S. Embassy because he did not want to take part in Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has been reported.
The Telegram channel Spy Dossier, which claims to have links to Russia’s intelligence services, said that a pilot with a squadron of Russia’s national guard, Rosgvardia, had made the appeal to the American Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. This was also reported in Ukrainian media outlets.
“The case of a new escape of a Russian pilot has been revealed today,” said the post, which named the serviceman as Senior Lieutenant Gavrichenko, with the call sign “Gavr.” No first name was given in the report.
The post said that the pilot had been with his family in Dubai at the end of September, and after “enjoying the desert…decided to radically change his life. Instead of the airport, he chose as his final destination, the American embassy.”
The American Embassy in the UAE is in its capital Abu Dhabi. The U.S. also has a consulate in Dubai.
The Russian serviceman turned up at the mission and “stated that he refused to fight and expressed his readiness to cooperate,” the post said. The post did not specify if he went from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, is investigating the circumstances of the case, questioning the pilots’ colleagues, it added. It is unclear whether the pilot went to Dubai with the aim of defecting or made the decision while there. There are also no details on whether asylum has been sought.
Spy Dossier said the move had been inspired by the tale of his friend Lieutenant Anton Vasiliev, who was said to be a combat and training pilot who had left Russia during the war and now lives in Los Angeles where “he spends his free time by the pool, organizes training camps for the Ukrainian army and, probably, shares official information with Pentagon representatives.”
“The FSB believes that it was Anton Vasiliev who convinced Gavrichenko of the need to escape,” said the post to over 6,000 followers.
Newsweek has contacted the American mission in the UAE and the U.S. State Department for comment.
Ukrainian internal affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko posted on X (formerly Twitter) that “another Russian pilot escaped Russia and turned himself in to the US embassy” and that he “wished to cooperate with U.S. special services.”
“There is data that Russian security services were very disturbed by this and are now pondering closing the borders for Russian pilots and officers in general, as well as their families,” added Gerashchenko.
In August, Maskym Kuzminov, a Russian Mi-8 helicopter pilot, landed in Ukraine after contacting the country’s military intelligence about defecting and called on other Russian personnel to do the same.
State channel Russia 1 reported that the country’s intelligence agencies have orders to eliminate Kuzminov who faces accusations of being a “traitor.”