Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC is an airline based in Ulyanovsk, Russia. It specializes in providing air charter services by operating a unique fleet of twelve Antonov An-124 (largest production cargo aircraft), five Boeing 747-8F and five IL-76TD-90VD (Stage IV) ramp all-cargo aircraft certified for global operations. It is a world leader in the global market for the movement of oversize, unique and heavy air cargo.
Ref: “Volga-Dnepr and the AN-124-100”. Moscow Defense Brief. Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (1 (15) / 2009).
Its main base is Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport (ULY), Ulyanovsk and it has a hub at Krasnoyarsk Yemelyanovo Airport (KJA), Krasnoyarsk.
It’s rather a strange company operating in the most outlandish circumstances for an airline owned by Russians and based in Russia. Besides working for Russian military and Russian arms companies. It also at one time did transport work for Nato and the US and British governments and military.
According to Moscow Defense Brief, the company has over the past 18 years transported gigantic excavators and yachts, missile launchers, airplanes and helicopters, elephants and whales, entire mini-factories and power plants, the latest release of Beaujolais Nouveau wine, and unique museum collections. Deliveries of equipment for the heavy machine building, oil and gas, and aerospace sectors are most in demand. Ref: ditto.
In 2008, Volga-Dnepr delivered Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module for the International Space Station (ISS), from Japan to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is the largest single ISS module.
The US military blacklisted Volga-Dnepr for delivering weapons on behalf of Rosoboronexport to Vietnam in December 2014.
According to a release by Washington, this was the Russian air cargo carrier that paid former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn more than $11,000 and had been blacklisted without warning by the Pentagon months before Flynn became Donald Trump’s top campaign adviser on military matters.
Documents released by Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform omitted an essential piece of information: At the time that the U.S. affiliate of Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr paid Flynn $11,250 in August 2015, the Russian company had been frozen out by the Pentagon since February that year, and the airline claimed it was trying to learn why.
Four months after Flynn was paid for the Volga-Dnepr speech, Flynn was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner in Moscow paid for by the Russia Today (RT) news network. RT paid Flynn and his speakers’ bureau more than $45,000USD, according to the documents.
“Unsuitable for use,” is how a U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) email in May 2015 characterized the air cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr.
Volga-Dnepr in December 2014 ferried two Su-30MK2 attack aircraft to Da Nang, Vietnam, on behalf of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport. JSC Rosoboronexport is the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of Russian Arms and Military Equipment.
State Department cables published by the WikiLeaks website show that Volga-Dnepr has long been both a partner and a worry for the U.S. military.
The cargo airline had worked for the United Nations, as well. However, it was suspended from a list of approved vendors in 2007 after two Russian U.N. officials were prosecuted for steering contracts to the airline in exchange for bribes.
In a confidential Nov. 17, 2007, cable to headquarters, a diplomat in the U.S. embassy in Berlin reported that the German government had blocked a Russian arms shipment that stopped on its way to Venezuela. The cable said the Germans had acted on a tip from the Portuguese embassy, which had warned that Russian rockets were being sent to Venezuela, stopping first in the German city of Leipzig. The shipment, carried by Volga-Dnepr, was on behalf of Rosoboronexport.
The US imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, and several entities accused of supporting and profiting from the Russian government’s efforts to undermine western democracies.
The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials. The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions.
“The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said as he announced the new set of sanctions against Russia.
It is believed Putin and his family and friends are in some way involved with Rosoboronexport, perhaps even owning it.
The US action targeted Russian oligarchs including Kirill Shamalov, who married Putin’s daughter and has amassed a fortune since married in February 2013; Oleg Deripaska, a senior Russian official who has been investigated for money laundering; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of Euros into France in suitcases, according to the Treasury Department. The US sanctions were said to be a step by the US against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, the interference in the US 2016 election and a cyber-attack. In all the US designated seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.
So why am I telling the readers in the Caribbean and Americas about all this interwoven stuff regarding Putin’s pet Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC the Russian Airline who specializes in carrying missile launchers and Russian Arms and equipment?
Quite simple, I am a little worried that Trinidad and Tobago may well have US sanctions put on them. When the US government finds out that they have allowed a Russian plane owned by Volga Dnepr Cargo Airlines to hide in a hangar in the old part of Piarco airport for over a month they will be madder than hell.
A Trinidad immigration official speaking without official permission said: “It’s highly unusual for an airplane to remain so long at Piarco.”
These aircraft are used for cargo and transportation of heavy equipment. It’s well known that Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister sympathizes with Nicolas Maduro. However, what are these specialist aircraft doing being hidden at Piaca with the full knowledge of the Prime Minister? Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley MP is the current Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, in office since September 2015.
The crew is staying at the Marriot Hotel in Port-of-Spain. Having been granted permission to wait for an extended period. According to crew member Mikhail Miniakov, one of the pilots who can speak English, they stopped off in “Trinidad for a fuel stop and crew rest and were awaiting instructions from their employers in Russia as to their next destination.”
Members of the crew besides Miniakov, are Dmitry Ageev a pilot, Viacheslav Lvov a navigator and five engineers; Pavel Popovich, Valery Sotnikov, Nikolai Kosovo, Alexander Erofeev and Dmitri Losenko.
The same cargo plane previously visited Piarco Airport in 2011, May 2015 and August 2017.
Are they waiting to collect and repossess secret Russian heavy military equipment if Maduro has to run?
Mikhail Miniakov shrugs his shoulders and suddenly has a problem understanding, interview over.
Jolly Green, looking out at the Maduro collaborators everywhere