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Several Mi-8, Il-76 Stolen and Handed Over to Help Ukrainian Army, russian FSB Investigates

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A russian Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft / Open-source illustrative photo
A russian Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft / Open-source illustrative photo

Currently, it's unknown whether these claims are another "witch hunt" in russia or whether such episodes actually happened

The russian Federal Security Service, FSB, has conducted searches at the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya), which is responsible for civil transport in general and the state-owned property in that department in particular.

FSB claims that Rosaviatsiya's activities from March 2022 to June 2023 led to 59 aircraft illegally taken out of the jurisdiction of the russian federation, 36 of them sold abroad, including 8 units bought by "unfriendly countries."

Read more: ​Ukraine Receives Mi-8AMTSh Helicopter From russian Pilot
A russian Mi-8 transport helicopter
A russian Mi-8 transport helicopter / Open-source illustrative photo

Moreover, the security service insists that "several illegally decommissioned and transferred out of the russian border aircraft started assisting Ukraine," namely a few Mi-8 transport helicopters and Il-76 cargo jets.

According to the announced information, three of the Mi-8s ended up fighting against their former owner on the Ukrainian side, and some Il-76 airlifters "performed flights with disabled transponders, which allows you to hide information about routes." In other words, they imply that those jets could carry weapons and military equipment for Ukraine but have no proof at hand.

Worth noting, there are objective reasons to doubt the validity of the FSB allegations. First of all, the mentioned Rosaviatsiya is only responsible for civilian transport. Therefore, in those very rare episodes, when russian troops willingly brought their equipment into Ukrainian hands and surrendered, this federal service is unlikely to be involved. A civilian helicopter somehow crossing the frontline unnoticed to end up in Ukraine is difficult to imagine as well.

A russian Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft
A russian civilian Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft / Open-source illustrative photo

A plausible explanation to this situation is that the russian security service has opened another "wrecking" case against alleged "saboteurs" following the example of Stalin's Soviet Union, under a forged pretext. The answers to those unclear nuances will likely emerge as the case unfolds, which Defense Express will closely watch happen.

Earlier Defense Express reported that after the successful Operation Synytsia, when russian Mi-8 pilot actually defected and brought his helicopter with him, FSB has intensified efforts in search of potential traitors and accomplices.

Read more: ​Ukraine Is Negotiating with russian Pilots Regarding their Potential Defection