The EU is calling Russia to return over 400 leased aeroplanes it had ‘stolen’ from foreign companies after Russian Prime Minister Yuri Burisov revealed all foreign leased aircraft would remain in Russia after their contracts expire.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced Western powers to order immediate termination of leasing contracts for over 500 aircraft, with 78 out of these planes being seized and another 400 remaining.
In response, Moscow passed a law allowing aircraft worth over €950 billion to be included on its own register.
Furthermore, Bermuda and Ireland, where most of the planes are registered, have suspended certificates of airworthiness, which orders such aircraft to be grounded.
In a plenary session held earlier this week, the Members of the European Parliament condemned the act on the Russian part and demanded to return the aircraft, saying ‘such a theft cannot be tolerated’.
Moreover, MEPs insist that the Russian authorities will be entirely responsible for putting the lives of their own citizens at risk when putting these stolen aircraft into operation without being able to meet the necessary security requirements.
In addition, MEPs called on the EU to impose more stringent sanctions on Russia and called on the EU to help transport operators with links to the Russian market.
EU representatives also called for the 27-nation-bloc to tighten sanctions against the Russian maritime sector further and to prohibit entry for ships that have docked in Russia on their way to the EU ports. In addition, MEPs believe that all ships that want to stop at an EU port should be forbidden from re-fuelling their ships in Russian ports.
“The European Council’s decision to drastically cut funds for military mobility was a mistake that undermines European security, MEPs say. They call on the Commission to find a solution to significantly increase the military mobility budget under the Connected Europe Facility programme,” the press release explains.
However, they did criticise the Council’s decision to reduce funds for military mobility, which according to them, threatens European security. In addition, they demanded that the Commission increase the military budget under the Connected Europe Facility programme.
MEPs also urged the Member States to support hotels and short-term rental services that are hosting Ukrainian refugees, adding that by helping the sector, they help Ukraine. They also asked for the Commission to establish an EU temporary financial programme to support tourism companies that hire people that are fleeing the war.