Ukraine arrests head of aircraft engine maker Motor Sich over suspected treason

Ukrainian security services have arrested Vyacheslav Boguslaev, the president of Ukrainian aircraft engine manufacturer Motor Sich, over suspected treason. 

According to a statement published on the website of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), Boguslaev is suspected of breaking two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: collaboration and aiding the aggressor state. 

Suspected of treason 

He was detained on October 23, 2022, under suspicion that the company’s leadership colluded with representatives of Rostec, Russia’s state technology conglomerate.  

The suspected officials established transnational channels of illegal supply of wholesale consignments of Ukrainian aircraft engines to the aggressor state,” the statement explains. 

According to the SSU, Ukrainian-made engines were found on helicopters downed after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

An investigation was started, the statement explains, and a scheme was uncovered, under which Ukrainian engines were provided to Russia via countries in the Middle East, Europe and East Asia. 

Additionally, Motor Sich used third parties to organize maintenance of their engines in Russia, the SSU statement says. 

Intercepted calls 

On October 24, 2022, the SSU published a video containing alleged intercepted calls between Boguslaev and various Russian officials made in recent years. In the calls, various schemes for transferring helicopter engines to Russia to be used on Mi-8, Mi-24, Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopters are discussed. 

Some of the calls appear to be made after the start of Russia’s invasion in February 24.  

During one of them, Boguslaev allegedly says that he “understands” Russia’s reasons for shelling the Motor Sich factory in Zaporizhzhia. In another one he says that Motor Sich’s latest engines are ready to be mounted on new Russian helicopters. 

Yet another recording allegedly documents Anatoly Sitnov, the president of Russian engine manufacturer Vladimir Klimov-Motor Sich, explaining to Boguslaev anew scheme for transferring Ukrainian engines through Croatia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. 

Ukraine’s main engine manufacturer 

Motor Sich Joint Stock Company, one of the largest aircraft engine manufacturers in the post-Soviet area, produces engines used on aircraft such as the Antonov An-124 and An-225. 

In 2017, Chinese company Skyrizon Aviation purchased a 41% holding in Motor Sich. However, in 2021 Ukraine nationalized the company because of its strategic importance.  

The 2021 nationalization, initiated by newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky, led to a diplomatic row between Ukraine and China. 

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