Russian Citizens Caught Smuggling Ukrainian Turboshaft Engine For Mi-8 Helicopters

Aircraft engine that was allegedly being transported to Russia (image: SSU)

Counterintelligence officers and investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have thwarted an attempt of illegal supply of spare parts to military of Russia, reported Kyiv post.

“During a pretrial investigation, it was established that a resident of Mykolaiv plans to illegally export parts that are used during repair and maintenance of engines on ships of the Navy of the Russian Federation,” the SBU press center said on Nov. 1.

Law enforcement authorities seized illegal cargo while it was crossing the state border. According to preliminary estimates by experts, the market value of the equipment is more than Hr 1.5 million.

“During a raid of the place of residence of the organizer of the fraud, flash drives, computer equipment containing correspondence with customers from Russia were found,” the press center said.

Police detained the suspects while trying to sell a military aircraft engine valued $980,000. Aircraft spare parts for Mi-2 and Mi-8 helicopters were found, the department said.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) said it blocked the illegal transport of stolen aircraft components including engines one of which costs $980,000, to Russia.

The ‘stolen’ spare parts and engines were allegedly were exported abroad by intermediaries outside customs control. Documents were forged to state that the components were being sold to defense companies from the Middle East and former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries while it was being transferred to Russia, SSU said in a release.

A highly-placed official of a ‘strategic enterprise’ has been detained in connection with the case. “Currently, according to Art. 208 of the Criminal procedural code of Ukraine militiamen detained the chief of the department of the strategic enterprise. The official was informed about the suspicion under Part 5 of Art. 27 and part 3 of Art. 191 (appropriation, misappropriation of property or taking it by abuse of office) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest was chosen.”

An-22 – Antonov planes are the transport mainstay of the Russian military manufactured by Ukraine.

Russia’s defense firms have been hit not only by Western sanctions but also by a breakdown in business ties with Ukraine.

For decades under Soviet rule, Russia’s strategic industries had close links with partners in Ukraine, all centrally controlled from Moscow.

Ukraine hosts the design bureau of Antonov military transport planes. The economic freeze has blocked plans to deliver a new heavy transport plane, the An-70. And this month, Russia stopped producing another transport plane – the An-140.

In February, Russia closed another programme – Rokot space rockets, which had been putting military satellites into orbit.

The Russian navy has suffered too. It was awaiting three Project 22350 frigates (Admiral Gorshkov-class), but they did not arrive because Ukraine did not deliver the turbines for them.

Russian Air Force, Navy and Army still heavily dependent on Ukrainian-made spare parts for Russian helicopters, missiles, seeker, radars, propulsion and marine propulsion systems.

As part of the criminal proceedings initiated under Part 1 of Article 333 (violation of procedure of international transfers of goods subject to state export control) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, investigative actions are being taken.

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