Russian official: Governments have seized 80 commercial aircraft via sanctions over Ukraine invasion

A Russian official says foreign governments have seized nearly 80 aircraft from Russian airlines since they started implementing sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev told the Russian Interfax news agency that even countries usually considered friendly to Russia, such as Azerbaijan and Armenia, have taken custody of Russian-owned airliners.

Mr. Savelyev said Tuesday that leasing companies in the West have been unwilling to negotiate an offer to purchase the aircraft. That has prompted the Kremlin to begin transferring almost 800 aircraft to a Russian register, the news agency said.

“We are looking for legal ways to negotiate with lessors and resolve this issue, but so far it has not been possible,” Mr. Savelyev told Interfax. “There is a ban on their demanding their return [and] they are unwilling to enter into negotiations on compensation for their payment or purchase by Russian airlines.”

He acknowledged that Russian air carriers will eventually need to address the problem of spare parts.

Mr. Savelyev said the government is studying how Iran has managed to maintain a commercial airline industry while operating under sanctions for many years.

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