Photo/A Ukrainian Plane, Managed by a Company Suspected of Involvement in Illegal Arms Trade, Stations for Six Days in Moldova
A Ukrainian private company plane took off for Egypt after a six-day stay on the Mărculești Airport in Moldova.
ZdG found that both the airline that previously managed the aircraft and the current Ukrainian company that manages the plane were suspected of illegal arms trade and had relations with Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.
According to the authorities, the aircraft was stationed in Moldova because the crew had to rest and confirm the receipt of payment for two engines.
According to the FlightRadar24 website, the UR-CPV aircraft, Ilyushin IL-76T, managed by Yuzmashavia airline, took off on June 15, at approximately 16:47 from Gostomel Airport in Ukraine and landed shortly at Mărculești International Airport, in Moldova.
Ziarul de Gardă found that the IL-76 UR-CPV aircraft belonged to Artic Group company, and since 2018 it belongs to Yuzmashavia airline.
The Yuzmashavia airline has its headquarters in Dnipro, Ukraine, and it was established in 1985. The company does not have an active website, but according to the old website, its field of activity is to carry out air transport in the field of business aviation, but also the delivery of bulky goods for civilian and military purposes.
A note from the President of the United Nations Security Council from 2000, which also features the final report of the monitoring mechanism on Angola sanctions, shows that the airline Yuzmashavia has offered charter aircraft for fixed use in the transport of weapons of the company AirCess owned by Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.
At the same time, the IL-76 UR-CPV aircraft was previously managed by Aerocom, an airline based in Chișinău, which was suspected of being involved in the illegal arms trade and that it was connected with the same Viktor Bout. In 2004, the company was closed.
Why the Aircraft Was Stationed on the Territory of Mărculești International Airport
The UR-CPV aircraft, Ilyushin IL-76T, managed by Yuzmashavia airline, was stationed in Moldova for six days. On June 21, at approximately 14:55, the plane took off in an unknown direction. Later, flying over the Mediterranean Sea, not reaching Egypt and turning slightly in the direction of Libya, the plane disappeared from the radar.
Contacted by Ziarul de Gardă, Nicolae Clichici, the administrator of Mărculești International Airport, informed us that he did not know the details of the aircraft’s stationing on the territory of the airport he manages.
“They came. They stationed for a while. They paid for parking and that’s about it. The other details do not fall within the competence of the airport. We just organize everything technically. More details about this flight can be communicated to you by Moldatsa or the Civil Aeronautical Authority because they have given permission to take off and they are presented with the flight plan,” he specified.
Subsequently, Irina Bodolica, head of the Press Service of the Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed for ZdG that the IL-76 UR-CPV aircraft of the Yuzmashavia airline arrived at Mărculești Airport from Gostomel Airport (Ukraine) on June 16. According to the information provided, the plane had on board a disassembled Mi-8 helicopter, which belongs to the same company.
“On June 21, the plane left for Alexandria, Egypt, with two engines onboard, which were also sent to Space Cargo Inc. from Egypt,” pointed out Irina Bodolica.
The head of the Civil Aviation Authority Press Service specified that the aircraft was stationed on the territory of Mărculești Airport because the crew had to rest and because the aircraft had to confirm the receipt of the payment for two engines.
“In civil aviation, it is common for all airlines to purchase or lease engines, in case theirs are defective and are in the factory, under repair,” she said.
Ziarul de Garda found that this plane was seen several times, between April and May 2020, at several airports in China.