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Russia buys sanctioned parts for aircraft through friendly countries: the UAE, China and Türkiye at the top

Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 22:39
Russia buys sanctioned parts for aircraft through friendly countries: the UAE, China and Türkiye at the top
BOEING 737 OF THE RUSSIAN AEROFLOT. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Russian investigators have found foreign suppliers of originally sanctioned parts for Boeing and Airbus planes in the United Arab Emirates, China, Türkiye and "unfriendly" Europe.

Source: investigation of Important Stories

Details: The outlet notes that in order to circumvent sanctions on the supply of parts for aircraft, the Russians began to abuse parallel imports.

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Journalists analysed customs data and found out that from March 2022 to March 2023, more than US$180 million worth of original spare parts for Boeing and Airbus were imported to Russia.

Russian airlines that need spare parts buy them in "friendly" countries. In particular, the United Arab Emirates, China and Türkiye are the leaders among such sellers.

Dubai-based ATS Heavy Equipment & Machinery sold the most parts to Russia. In just over a year, it has made more than 700 deliveries worth more than US$40 million. Most of the spare parts for Boeing and Airbus planes went to the Aeroflot group, which, in addition to Aeroflot itself, includes the companies Russia and Pobeda.

 
Top 10 sellers of aircraft parts in Russia
 
Top 10 sellers of aircraft parts in Russia

At the same time, the supplier may be foreign, and its owners may be Russians. For example, Griffon (UAE) is in the top 10. According to Sayari, its beneficiaries are Irina Gorokhovskaya and Ilya Rysev. 

Rysev forwarded media questions to Griffon managing director Andrey Ulyashev. He first wrote that the company did not sell any Western spare parts to Russia, because "the bank does not allow such payments," and when journalists sent him a list of deliveries, he ceased to respond.

Among the suppliers are Moldova's Max Jet Service and even Lithuanian company Right Direction Aero.

The director and owner of Right Direction Aero is Pavel Chalapov. He wrote that he did not sell anything to the Russian AI Fly.

The media sent him a list of deliveries and Chalapov explained that he sold these parts not to the Russian AI Fly, but to the Kyrgyz company Kargoline (and provided scans of the cargo and export declaration for several goods as a proof).

The customs databases do indicate that Lithuanian Right Direction Aero sold AI Fly goods on behalf of Kargoline. It seems that according to the documents, spare parts went to Kyrgyzstan, but in reality, they ended up  in Russia.

Chalapov said that he sold parts to Kyrgyzstan and had personal guarantees from Kargoline owner and CEO Azamat Alkadyrov that the parts would not be able to be re-exported to Russia: "As I see it, Kargoline kept us in the dark, deceived and, obviously, forged documents."

He added that from now on, the company will not work with Kyrgyzstan either.

Kargoline was registered a month after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, when Airbus, Boeing and other spare parts manufacturers banned Russian Airlines. Azamat Alkadyrov, a former middle-class Kyrgyz official, became the director and owner. In July 2023, the United States imposed sanctions on Kargoline.

Alkadyrov read the media's questions on WhatsApp and did not respond to them.

From the customs data, it follows that Lithuanian Right Direction Aero is not the only company from which Kyrgyz Kargoline bought spare parts for the supply of Russian AI Fly.

In particular, Apram Aerospace from Czechia supplied AI Fly aircraft parts to other Russian companies both before and during the full-scale war. Apram Aerospace has been on the market since 2012, and the company is owned by Czech citizens Alena Shimechkova and Milan Kochan. 

One of the main buyers of aircraft parts in Russia is the Moscow Company Protector. Protector purchased spare parts for Boeing to resell to Russian Airlines Utair, Pobeda, S7 and others.

The owner and CEO of Protector is 25-year-old Ekaterina Provotorova. Nothing is known about her relationship with aviation. But her husband Pavel Provotorov worked for Rusline Airlines and was a co-owner of FastAir International (under US sanctions) and Kannem, which were engaged in customs clearance of cargo and trade in equipment, machinery, ships and aircraft.

The main suppliers of Boeing parts for the Protector, according to customs data, were three companies from the UAE – Trade One Middle East, Desert Sun Supply and Griffon.

 
Top 10 Russian buyers of spare parts

Background:

  • Reuters, which has been investigating how Russia is rebuilding its aircraft fleet after sanctions, reported that Russians with family ties abroad could be one of the possible channels for supplying parts to Russia for Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

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