Desperate Putin’s workers forced to take parts from old aircraft as Ukraine sanctions bite

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Vladimir Putin announced his “special military operation” in Ukraine towards the end of February. This was soon followed by the imposition by major Western nations of numerous heavy sanctions.

Reports suggest that state-controlled airlines are now resorting to using scraps from older jetliners to secure parts for newer units.

This is because they can no longer buy abroad, given the sanctions, industry sources told Reuters.

Aeroflot, which was founded in 1923, is among these airliners.

This is one of the oldest active airlines in the world.

The Kremlin advised that companies took such steps back in June given the trading measures imposed against its economy.

It hopes that this will enable foreign-built planes to continue flying until at least 2025.

A source told Reuters At least one Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 and an Airbus A350, both operated by Aeroflot, are currently grounded and being disassembled.

The latter of these is understood to be almost brand new.

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The source did not wish to be identified “due to the sensitivity of the issue”.

Daniel Salisbury, Research Fellow at KCL’s Centre for Science and Security Studies, relayed the information in terms that would be received particularly badly in Moscow.

He wrote in a post on Twitter: “Sanctions and export controls on aviation always lead to cannibalism.”

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Reports suggest most of Russia’s aircraft fell consists of Western passenger jets.

A Western aviation industry source told Reuters it is “only a matter of time” before Russia-based planes are also “cannibalised”.

They added that it will be a “challenge” for Moscow to keep modern jets in service within a year of the sanctions coming into effect.

Journalist Viktor Kovalenko commented that this showed sanctions against Russia “work”.

Other commentators have, however, been less certain, even pointing to the damage the sanctions are doing at home, especially given the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

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