Russia Threatens To Cancel Relations With Canada Over Plane Seizure


Russia says diplomatic relations with Canada are “on the verge of being severed” after the Canadian government seized an An-124 cargo plane that has been stranded in Toronto for more than a year. The government intends to hand the massive aircraft over to Ukraine after it was unable to leave Canada because of a flight ban imposed over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We perceive this act as cynical and shameless theft,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The aircraft, owned by cargo airline Volga Dneper, flew from Anchorage to Toronto on the night of the invasion. It was carrying COVID-19 test kits. By the time it landed, Canada had imposed a ban on the operation of Russian aircraft in its airspace. It has since languished on ramp at Pearson International Airport next to the main terminal. It has racked up millions of dollars in ramp fees.

The government, with a Cabinet order, ordered the seizure under a recently enacted law that allows the diversion of assets seized from Russia to Ukraine as war reparations. Russia, which re-registered more than 100 Boeing and Airbus airliners owned by Western lease companies after the invasion, was not amused by the Canadian action. “The Russian side warns that the practical implementation of this decision will entail the most serious repercussions for Russian-Canadian relations, which are already on the verge of being severed,” the Russian foreign ministry wrote. “We reserve the right to retaliate in line with the reciprocity principle.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Dear Russia

    In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, in an unprovoked act of aggression and war.

    Then Russia seized more than 100 Boeing and Airbus airliners owned by aircraft leasing companies based in Ireland and elsewhere in the Western World.

    We perceive these acts as cynical and shameless theft.

    If you, Russia, do not want to discuss the return of Ukraine’s territory and of these airliners, then please sever diplomatic relations.

    Canada, USA, UK and the rest of the World

  2. As tough a time as Russia is having on its western front, you’d think they didn’t have any sabres left to rattle.

    Given what they did to the An-225 back at the start of the war on Ukraine, I can’t think of a better place for its little brother to end up after the war.

  3. Actions have consequences.
    At the same time, it’s hard not to have some sympathy for Volga Dneper, who got no vote in the process. Along with nearly everyone else caught up in this.