A Russian pilot standing in front of a Tu-22M3 strategic bomber
© Russia’s Federal Security ServiceA Russian pilot standing in front of a Tu-22M3 strategic bomber.
Kiev's spies tried to bribe the pilot of a Tu-22M3 aircraft, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has said.

A plot by Ukraine's intelligence services to hijack a Russian Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable strategic bomber has been intercepted, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has said.

Kiev's spies offered a Russian air force pilot money and Italian citizenship if he agreed to fly the aircraft to Ukraine, the agency said in a statement on Monday.

The involvement of special services of NATO countries in the failed hijacking was uncovered, the FSB said. It did not name specific members of the US-led military bloc.

During the "operational game," Russian counterintelligence officers were able to obtain information that helped the military to carry out a successful strike again the Ukrainian armed forces' Ozernoye airfield, it added.

The facility is located near the city of Zhytomir in northwest Ukraine.

The FSB also published a video of the Russian pilot, who helped the agency with the operation. His identity was concealed and voiced changed in the clip.

The airman said he had been contacted on Telegram by a person who revealed he was working for Ukrainian intelligence.

According to the Russian serviceman, the man - who identified himself as Pavlo - started to threaten his relatives and demanded information about the Russian aircraft or to set the planes on fire.

Pavlo later "offered to hijack a warplane to the territory of Ukraine, and not any warplane, but a nuclear-capable strategic long-range bomber," the pilot stated.

The Russian serviceman said that instead of cooperating with the Ukrainian spy, he "went to his superiors and told them everything."

The clip also included screenshots of conversations between the pilot and Ukrainian officer. Judging by the texts, the reward promised to the Russian sericeman for stealing the plane was $3 million.

The FSB reported foiling a similar plot by Ukrainian intelligence in July 2022. Back then, several Russian pilots were offered up to $2 million, EU passports and a comfortable life in the West for flying their planes to Ukraine. But the airmen instead worked with Russian counterintelligence officers, helping them to obtain information about Kiev's forces.

The Kremlin said the FSB deserved "top marks" for carrying out the sophisticated operation. According to RT's sources, the Ukrainians was especially interested in Su-34 fighter-bombers and Tu-22M3 strategic aircraft.