The Canadian government will confiscate and transfer the Antonov An-124, nicknamed the Ruslan, to Ukraine as part of a new sanctions package.
According to Denis Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, the decision was made after a meeting with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Christy Freeland.
Shmihal has been on an institutional visit to Canada since April 11, 2023, and on the same day he met with Canadian ministers. Later he also traveled to North America.
The seizure is part of new sanctions imposed by the Canadian government on April 5, 2023. The sanctions are also directed against the Volga-Dnepr Group and its two subsidiaries, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Airbridge Cargo, and Atran, another Russian airline. Goods whose parent company is Volga-Dnepr Group.
Currently, there is a Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124 set parked at Toronto Pearson International Airport, registered as RA-82078, where it has been since February 27, 2022, when it arrived on a flight from Ted Stevens International Airport. Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, which led to heavy international sanctions being imposed on the country’s aviation sector. These sanctions prevented aircraft registered in and linked to Russia from using Canadian, American and European airspace, as well as the airspace of other countries.
In total, the Volga-Dnepr Group, whose subsidiary Volga-Dnepr Airlines has 10 Antonov An-124s, has four such aircraft parked at international airports. Other than the plane currently in Toronto, there are three Russian planes parked at Germany’s Leipzig/Halle airport.
Earlier, a US judge ruled against AirBridgeCargo in a case in which BOC Aviation, the aircraft lessor, sought compensation for non-payment of a lease on three Boeing 747-8F aircraft. Lewis J. Lyman, judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled in favor of BOC Airlines, awarding it $406.2 million.
Although BOC Aviation managed to recover the 747-8F, two of them are currently parked at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.