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Ukraine Continues to Supply Russia with Aviation Spare Parts

An investigation by IStories and OCCRP

27 Nov 2023
Maria Zholobova, Metin Kazama (OCCRP)
Ukraine Continues to Supply Russia with Aviation Spare Parts
The FED (“Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky”) plant is faithful to its traditions. Photo: PJSC FED

The Russian company Avia FED Service supplied the Russian aviation industry with spare parts for at least 650 million rubles (from 2022 to July 2023) during the war. Most of them, worth 370 million, came from Ukraine. 

In particular, according to customs data, the company imported parts for the repair of An-124 airplanes produced by the Kharkiv FED machine-building plant for almost 120 million rubles, parts for Ka-32 helicopter locating stations produced by the Kiev Radar plant for more than 67 million rubles, parts for the repair of An-24 and An-12 engines produced by Motor Sich (in the Soviet era, the Zaporizhzhia Motorostroitel production association), products of the Kiev Artem plant, the Kharkiv aggregate design bureau, the Volchansk aggregate plant, and other Ukrainian enterprises for about 170 million. Supplies were also made from France, the USA and the UK.

After the conflict in eastern Ukraine began, the main supplier of Avia FED Service — the Kharkiv-based FED plant (the name comes from the name of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission) — officially stopped all supplies to Russia. This was a serious blow for the company — Russia accounted for about 70% of sales.

The Russian company Avia FED Service was founded in 1993 as a representative office of the Kharkiv FED machine-building plant and, as the Ukrainian media wrote, was affiliated with the plant’s top management. The current director of the company, Alexander Reshetnik, was born in Lugansk, studied at the Kharkiv Aviation Institute, and his personal website has a page with photos of FED employees.

According to government procurement data, Avia FED Service’s clients include the Russian Ministry of Defense, enterprises of state corporation Rostec and the presidential Special Flying Squadron Rossiya.

Even before the war, in 2018, Avia FED Service was subject to Ukrainian sanctions. Therefore, in 2022–2023, it was supplied not directly, but through Linker, a company registered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The company has a website in several languages, including Russian; it says that Linker specializes in supplying aircraft parts for Mi-8, Mi-17, and Ka-32 helicopters “anywhere in the world.” A profile of the company’s managing director — his name is Andrew Kurta — can be found on LinkedIn. Kurta’s VK social network profile states that he was born in Chernihiv and graduated from the Nizhyn Gogol State University.

The owner of Linker on LinkedIn is listed as Aleksey Palchyk. As IStories figured out, this person may be a native of Poltava, a graduate of the Irkutsk High Military Aviation School Aleksey Palchyk.

Linker received Ukrainian products from, among others, Motor Sich, whose director, Vyacheslav Boguslaev, was detained last October on suspicion of state treason for “illegal deliveries of military goods for Russian attack aircraft.” The website of Linker’s related company Amis says that the company is the official representative of Motor Sich in the UAE and “has all the necessary permits and licenses.”

The last supply from Linker to Avia FED Service was made, according to customs data at our disposal, in January 2023. After that, deliveries were made through the company Bakaytorg1 from Kyrgyzstan, which was registered in April 2023. It has already managed to sell the Kharkiv FED machine-building plant to Avia FED Service worth almost 40 million rubles. The director and owner of Bakaytorg1 is Bakai Saadaev. He graduated from the Kyrgyz State Law Academy, and in July 2020 he tried to get a job in the state traffic police, at that time working as a courier in the restaurant chain Pizza Empire.

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IStories contacted the owner of Linker, Aleksey Palchyk. He said that he is not engaged in supplies to Russia: “Don’t ask me questions... Linker has never supplied and does not supply anything from Ukraine to Russia.” When asked whether Linker had supplied goods to Avia FED Service, Palchyk said he was “not ready” to answer.

Alexander Reshetnik, Avia FED Service’s director, told IStories that the products of Ukrainian plants, which arrived to the company in 2022–2023, were purchased by his company earlier, in 2020–2021, and were just “laying abroad.” When asked how this was possible in the case of supplies through Bakaytorg1, which was registered only a few months ago, he did not answer.

IStories did not manage to talk to Bakai Saadaev.