The Moscow-headquartered transport company, best known for their fleet of mighty AN-124 freighters, have decided to terminate their Ruslan Salis commitment. By quitting the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution contract, they no longer carry any military equipment or humanitarian goods on behalf of most NATO and EU states as has been the case since the inception of Leipzig, Germany-based Salis in 2006.
Volga-Dnepr’s decision to quit SALIS doesn’t come unexpectedly, seen against the background of increasing tensions between Russia and western countries over Syria and other conflicting issues. In a message sent to the SALIS steering Board on 12 April, Volga-Dnepr Airlines has announced their intention to exit the deal. In spite of intense negotiations following the company’s SALIS notification, their contractual western partners could not motivate them to abandon their planned exit.
Officially, Volga-Dnepr told their counterparts that a decision had been taken by their headquarters to no longer carry any military equipment but focus on transporting civilian, humanitarian and commercial goods instead for which their western public clients have little demand.
During the SALIS negotiations, the carrier’s management indicated that its decision is also based on the 2017 signed Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which imposed new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran.
Further, the V-D side pointed out that the U.S. Transportation Command, awarding special airlift missions on behalf of the Washington administration had ended their relationship with Volga-Dnepr in 2015, despite roughly 13,000 flights operated by the Russian company for U.S. Transcom between 2002 and 2014 to the satisfaction of the client. (end of excerpt)
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