The Russian aviation industry continues to receive supplies from the Russian company Avia FED Service, which has bought most of its spare parts from Ukraine, according to a recent investigation by the independent media outlet Important Stories (IStories). Over the course of the war, Avia FED Service has supplied the Russian Defence Ministry, the Rostec defense corporation, and the presidential air fleet, with spare parts worth at least 650 million roubles (from 2022 to July 2023). Most of the supplies, totaling 370 million roubles ($4.18 million), came from Ukraine.
According to customs data, the company imported:
- parts for the repair of An-124 aircraft manufactured by the Kharkiv FED machine-building plant for almost 120 million roubles ($1.35 million);
- spare parts for Ka-32 helicopter locating stations manufactured by the Kyiv-based Radar plant for more than 67 million roubles ($754,000);
- parts for the repair of An-24 and An-12 engines produced by Motor Sich;
- products of the Kyiv Artem plant, the Kharkiv Aggregate Design Bureau, Volchansk Aggregate Plant, and other Ukrainian enterprises for close to 170 million roubles.
There were also deliveries from France, the US and the UK.
Prior to the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine, the Kharkiv FED Machine Building Plant (KHMZ) was the main supplier of Avia FED Service, with Russia accounting for 70% of the company’s sales, IStories reported. Avia FED Service was originally founded in 1993 as KHMZ’s representative office. The current director of the plant, Alexander Reshetnik, was born in Luhansk and studied at the Kharkiv Aviation Institute, while his personal website has a section with photos of FED employees.
Following the outbreak of war in 2014, the plant officially stopped deliveries to Russia. In 2018, Avia FED service was subject to Ukrainian sanctions. According to IStories, this has not prevented deliveries to Russia — but 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 it specialises in supplying aircraft parts for Mi-8, Mi-17 and Ka-32 helicopters “anywhere in the world.”
Linker received Ukrainian products from, among others, Motor Sich, whose director, Vyacheslav Bohuslaev, was detained last October on suspicion of state treason for “illegal supplies of military goods for Russian attack aircraft.” The website of Linker's sister company Amis says the company is the official representative of Motor Sich in the UAE and “has all the necessary permits and licences.” Linker's last delivery was in January this year, IStories notes, citing customs data. After that, deliveries continued via the Kyrgyzstan-based company Bakaytorg1, which was registered in April 2023. During this time, it managed to sell products from Ukraine's KHMZ to Russia for 40 million roubles.
Alexei Palchik is listed as the owner of Linker on LinkedIn. This person may be a native of Poltava, a graduate of the Irkutsk Higher Military Aviation School Alexei Palchik, IStories notes. The publication contacted Palchik, who said: “The Linker company from Ukraine has never delivered anything to Russia and does not deliver anything.” When asked whether Linker had supplied goods to Avia FED Service, Palchik said he was “not ready” to answer.
Alexander Reshetnik, the director of Avia FED Service, told Important Stories that the Ukrainian products received by the company in 2022-2023 had been purchased earlier and were simply “lying around abroad.” However, when asked how this was possible given that Bakaytorg1 was registered several months ago, he failed to answer.