Russian cargo plane seized at Toronto Pearson airport
Published Saturday, June 10, 2023 1:28PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 10, 2023 1:53PM EDT
A Russian-registered cargo aircraft that has been grounded at Toronto Pearson Airport for more than a year has been seized by the Canadian government, Global Affairs Canada announced on Saturday afternoon.
The aircraft, an Antonov 124, is believed to be owned by a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC and Volga-Dnepr Group, two entities against which Canada recently imposed sanctions due to their actions in the war against Ukraine, according to a press release from Global Affairs. The plane has been grounded at Pearson since Feb. 27, 2022. The owner of the plane has been billed 74 cents per minute to park at Toronto Pearson, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) told CTV News Toronto in April 2022, which adds up to $1,065.60 for each 24-hour period, according to the GTAA.
The Russian plane initially planned to leave Toronto shortly after arriving from China, via the U.S. and Russia, but that flight was cancelled when the Canadian government closed the country’s airspace to Russian aircraft operators in February of last year, grounding it indefinitely.
According to Global Affairs, this seizure is the first in Canada’s plan to put pressure on Russia to stop its war against Ukraine by straining its economy and limiting its access to resources.
This is the first physical asset seized by Canada under this regime and the second seized under the Special Economic Measures Act.
According to Global Affairs, the Canadian government will seize and manage the aircraft in accordance with federal legislation.
“Should the asset ultimately be forfeited to the Crown, Canada will work with the Government of Ukraine on options to redistribute this asset to compensate victims of human rights abuses, restore international peace and security, or rebuild Ukraine,” reads the announcement.
“Today, Canada is sending a clear message to the Russian regime that there will be nowhere left to hide for those who support and profit from the Kremlin’s war of aggression,” Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in the press release. “Canada has been there to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom since day one and we will continue to be there through their victory to aid in their reconstruction efforts.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Hannah Alberga