Ukraine is seeking to confiscate Russian-owned Antonov An-124 “Ruslan” cargo planes stranded in Canada and Germany due to sanctions, potentially adding them to the Ukrainian company Antonov’s fleet, Ekonomichna Pravda reports.
One An-124 belonging to Russian company Volga-Dnepr has been grounded at Toronto’s airport since late February, accruing $560,000 in parking fees. Three more are stranded at Germany’s Leipzig airport.
According to Antonov lawyers, the planes’ flight certifications from the Russian operator are fraudulent, posing safety risks. Antonov, the original manufacturer, holds sole authority for recertification. This claim provides legal backing for Ukraine to seize the planes, though court appeals could delay transfers.
Antonov Airlines currently operates five An-124s, which continue NATO missions from Leipzig despite the war. The addition of four seized Russian planes, worth over $240 million combined, would expand Antonov’s fleet and capacity to serve NATO, according to the company’s April appeal to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.
Antonov also needs funding to rebuild its aircraft damaged by Russia’s invasion, most notably – the iconic Mriya airplane destroyed in the first days of Russia’s invasion.
However, confiscation faces legal roadblocks without laws enabling seizure of Russian assets, like Canada’s recent legislation. Though Germany joined the newly formed international Register of Damages from Russia’s invasion, no law yet allows asset seizures.
According to Ukraine’s Deputy Justice Minister Iryna Mudra, selective case-by-case confiscations are difficult and a more universal mechanism is needed to make Russia pay.
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