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USD$1 Million Cash Reward Awaits Defected Ukrainian F-16 Pilots Who Fly Jets to Russia

Not only will Ukrainian pilots who fly F-16 fighter jets into Russian territory be awarded a cash sum of USD $1 million for doing so, but they will also be granted Russian citizenship.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Russia has announced it will offer US$1 million (approximately RM4.5 million) in cash to any Ukrainian pilot who defects and flies an F-16 fighter jet—donated to the Ukrainian Air Force—to Russian territory.

In addition to the cash reward, defectors will be granted Russian citizenship.

According to reports, the Russian government intends to study the Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-16s from the United States and use them as “war trophies” in Moscow.

The reward could exceed US$1 million if the captured F-16 also includes its full armament system, such as guided missiles and bombs.

The goal is to closely examine the F-16 and its weaponry.

F-16 Turki


This cash offer follows another incentive from a Russian company named “Fores,” which previously offered 15 million rubles (US$168,000) to any Russian military personnel who successfully shoots down the first F-16 operated by Ukraine.

The announcement was made by Fores’ CEO, Sergei Shmotyev, during the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Fores, based in the Urals and active in the oil and gas industry, has historically offered significant cash rewards to Russian military personnel for destroying enemy military equipment, including tanks.

These cash incentives are part of a strategy to support the Russian Armed Forces and boost troop morale amid ongoing conflicts in Ukraine.

 They also signify the Russian corporate sector’s solidarity with the government led by President Vladimir Putin.

This move by Fores is a reaction to the increased Western arms supplies to Ukraine, including F-16 fighter jets, with Ukrainian pilots receiving training in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russia has warned that its air defense systems will shoot down any F-16s as soon as they take off from Ukrainian airbases.


Last year, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that 10,000 of its military personnel received cash bonuses for successfully destroying Ukrainian military equipment, including American-made HIMARS multiple rocket launch systems, fighter jets, and helicopters.

Russian troops who managed to destroy Leopard tanks and Western-made armored vehicles in combat in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine also received special cash payments for their achievements.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the highest cash reward given was 300,000 rubles (approximately RM16,000) for destroying HIMARS systems and the Ukrainian TOCHKA-U ground-to-ground missile systems.

Additionally, payments of 300,000 rubles were made to Russian military personnel who shot down a total of 45 helicopters and 71 fighter jets belonging to Ukraine during the ongoing conflict.

In 2022, 7,064 Russian military personnel received special payments for destroying 11,586 pieces of Ukrainian military equipment. — DSA