In a first, Ukraine seeking to nationalise Belarusian assets

The Ukrainian government has filed a lawsuit against Belarus, seeking to nationalise assets linked to its defence ministry, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Inna Bohatykh, the deputy justice minister of Ukraine, said two lawsuits had been filed with the high anti-corruption court, seeking to impose sanctions in the form of asset recovery.

One of the lawsuits was filed against the Belarusian defence ministry, which is the first time Kyiv is seeking to confiscate assets — in this case, one aircraft engine and an air start unit — from Minsk.

The other lawsuit targets six D-18T aircraft engines for AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft linked to the Volga-Dnepr group of companies, Russia’s largest cargo airline group.

The lawsuit against Volga-Dnepr is “extremely important in terms of international confiscation”, Ms Bohatykh says.

“Because in Canada, a similar procedure has been initiated in relation to a Ruslan aircraft owned by the same company, which has now been arrested by Canada and is to be confiscated in favour of Ukraine,” she explained in a Facebook post.

“Several other aircraft of this company have been frozen by Germany. This is hundreds of millions of dollars.”

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.