Three Moldovan companies sold US$15 million worth of aircraft parts to Russia

Russian Su-34s. Stock photo: Defence Express
Russian Su-34s. Stock photo: Defence Express

Investigative journalists have discovered that three Moldovan companies sold spare aircraft parts to Russia for a total of about US$15 million during 2022-2023.

Source: European Pravda, citing an investigation by the Moldovan service of Radio Liberty

Details: The supply of aircraft parts to Russia via Moldova began a few months into the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Parts from Western countries were delivered to major Russian airlines such as Pobeda and S7 Engineering.

Three Moldovan companies were involved in the scheme – Airrock Solutions, Aerostage Services and Maxjet Service. The first two, founded in November 2021 and April 2022, are owned by Ivan Melnikov, a former senior official at Air Moldova, while the third company has existed since 2011 and is owned by Sergei Ranga.

All three companies acted as intermediaries, placing orders for spare parts and then helping to transport them to Russia, sometimes directly to Russian airports. The deliveries were not made through Moldovan territory.

Both Melnikov and Ranga told Radio Liberty that they did not know that the parts purchased by their companies were being shipped to Russia – the contracts stated that they were to be delivered to other CIS countries.

According to the investigation, this may have been because Moldova did not join some EU sanctions against Russia relating to the supply of aircraft parts.

Radio Liberty sources in the Moldovan president’s office said that they were aware of these cases and that the "competent authorities" were already dealing with them, and that Chisinau is discussing the possibility of joining other EU sanctions.

In October 2022, journalists discovered that at least four Moldovan companies are linked to Russian state military corporations that are subject to EU sanctions because of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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