Aviation spare parts for military helicopters and other aircraft made their way to Russia from Ukraine for months after the full-scale invasion, in spite of sanctions at both ends of the supply chain, independent media outlet Important Stories (iStories) has reported. Its investigation suggests that spares with a total value of close to 1 billion rubles ($12 million) have been received from Ukraine since the war began.

The majority of components were manufactured by Kharkiv’s “FED” machine-building plant, Kyiv’s Radar plant, a subsidiary of the Ukroboronprom state enterprise and the Zaporizhzhia Motor Sich engine manufacturer. Other smaller quantities reportedly came from the Kyiv Artem plant, the Kharkiv aggregate design bureau, the Volchansk aggregate plant, and other Ukrainian enterprises.

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The iStories report says that the items included engine parts and other components for Antonov fixed-wing aircraft, as well as Mi-8, Mi-17 and Ka-32 helicopters. The items, which were destined for Russia’s armed forces, were received by the Russian company “Avia FED Service,” originally directly from the manufacturer but since the start of the war with Russia through intermediary companies.

The main go-between was the UAE-based company Linker, with the last consignment being received from it in January this year, when it seems to have been replaced as the “middleman” by a Kyrgyzstan-based company – Bakaytorg1 – which was first registered in April.

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The links between these companies all have their roots in the inter-connection between the aviation manufacturing industries from Soviet times that continued after the collapse of the USSR. As the names suggest Avia FED Service has links with the Kharkiv FED machine plant. It was originally set up 30 years ago as the Ukrainian enterprise’s Moscow representative.

The association between Motor Sich and Russia were similarly well established, with direct business activity continuing even after the invasion began. This led to its CEO, Vyacheslav Bohuslaev, and Oleh Dzyuba, the Head of the Foreign Economic Activity Department being arrested on charges of collaboration with and aiding and abetting the enemy in October 2022.

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Linker is listed as specializing in parts for helicopters and also the official UAE representative for Motor Sich. The owner of the company is Aleksey Palchyk a native of Poltava and a graduate of Russia’s Irkutsk High Military Aviation School. Its managing director is Andrew Kurta, who was born in Chernihiv.

Approached by iStories, Palchyk denied Linker supplied components to Russia and refused to comment when pressed directly about any business relationship with Avia FED Service.

Alexander Reshetnik, Avia FED Service’s director, claimed according to iStories that any Ukrainian-origin products that had been delivered to his company in the past year was old stock purchased in 2020 that had just been “laying abroad.” When pressed about supplies received from Bakaytorg1, which was only registered seven months earlier, he declined to answer.

The US and EU imposed sanctions on Russia shortly after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which included bans on the supply of aircraft and spare parts, maintenance and insurance. Since then, reports in the media have repeatedly claimed that Moscow has been circumventing Western sanctions with the help of partners and intermediaries in former Soviet and other countries.

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