Canada to hand over Russian cargo plane to Ukraine – PM
Photo via EPA

Canada’s fresh sanctions against Volga-Dnepr Airlines, a Russian company, pave the way for the confiscation of its An-124 Ruslan cargo plane, detained at Toronto airport in February 2022, Ukraine’s prime minister Denys Shmyhal said.

"Preparing for the confiscation of the An-124 aircraft and other assets of the aggressor in Canada and their transfer to Ukraine," Mr Shmyhal wrote on Facebook in the wake of his visit to Canada.

The Russian plane landed in Toronto two hours before the Canadian authorities announced that its airspace was closed to Russian airlines in response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine. It was subsequently detained.

In March 2022, Ukraine’s court arrested 12 Volga-Dnepr Airlines aircraft in absentia, including three in Germany and one in Canada, as part of criminal proceedings launched at the request of Ukraine’s state enterprise Antonov.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Russia's largest cargo airline group, held more than half of the Russian air cargo market as of early 2022.

Antonov operates five An-124 aircraft based in Leipzig, with another damaged during Russia's attempt to seize the airport in the settlement of Hostomel, in the Kyiv region, in late February 2022.

An-124 fleet accounted for 90 percent of the revenue of the airline division of Antonov in 2021.