The Canadian government has seized the Russian Antonov An-124-100 cargo aircraft in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The aircraft has been grounded at Toronto Pearson International Airport since February 2022 when Canada closed its airspace to Russian aircraft in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The plane is operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group, a company sanctioned by Canada due to its complicity in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Canadian government plans to manage the seizure in accordance with federal legislation, and if forfeited to the crown, the plane could be redistributed to Ukraine. According to a statement from the federal government:
“Should the asset ultimately be forfeited to the Crown, Canada will work with the Government of Ukraine on options to redistribute this asset to compensate victims of human rights abuses, restore international peace and security, or rebuild Ukraine.”
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, commented on the seizure saying:
“Today, Canada is sending a clear message to the Russian regime that there will be nowhere left to hide for those who support and profit from the Kremlin’s war of aggression. Canada has been there to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom since day one and we will continue to be there through their victory to aid in their reconstruction efforts.”
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, also added that:
“From the beginning, we have stood on the side of the Ukrainian people and implemented a NOTAM against all Russian-owned and operated flights into Canada. Today, we are demonstrating that Russia’s actions continue to have consequences. We stand with Ukraine and will take any necessary actions, including this seizure, to put pressure on President Putin.”
World Ban On Russian Aircraft
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many countries have closed their airspace to Russian-registered or affiliated aircraft. A day after the invasion began, Britain closed its airspace to Russian aircraft, and other countries such as Poland, Czech and Bulgaria also announced bans on Russia. Other European countries and the US announced their bans on Russia shortly after. In addition, the EU prohibited all aviation exports and services to Russia, including purchasing aircraft parts and terminating aircraft leases.
Apart from this seized Russian aircraft in Canada, Volga-Dnepr Airlines currently has three An-124 freighters stuck in Leipzig Halle Airport in Germany due to the ban on Russia.
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