Ukrainian officer sentenced to 12 years for attempting to steal Su-24 plane and fly it to Russia

The Kmelnitskyi city district court sentenced a major of the Ukrainian Armed Forces who tried to steal a plane and take it to Russia in September 2014.

The case was considered repeatedly in court. The first time, the major was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment, but for procedural reasons, the ruling of the Starokonstantinovsky court did not come into force, and a new trial was appointed, the press service of the Military Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine reported.

In the second attempt, the officer was found guilty of high treason (s. 1 art. 111 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment. The title of “major” was also taken away from him.

The court came to the conclusion that the soldier intentionally gave representatives of Russia classified documents, specifically, complete information on the flight plan of a Su-34MR aircraft and military reconnaissance plane. During the special flight on September 8, he deviated from the planned course in the Shostka region, and directed the plane towards the state border with Russia.

However, without knowing how to contact the Russians, and without having the ability to independently make it to the airports in Russian territory, the pilot was forced to land the plane in Myrhorod.

He was banned from flying and arrested shortly thereafter.

The office, a native of the Russian city of Khabarovsk, was the deputy commander of the 3rd aviation squadron of the 7th tactical aviation brigade. During the trial, witnesses said that he supported the annexation of the Crimea, had a negative opinion of the Ukrainian Armed Force’s operation in the Donbass, and effectively sabotaged reconnaissance flights.

He has a brother in Russia – a retired colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, now a clergyman. In June 2014 the brother came to Ukraine and suggested stealing a plane for money. Later, to make the pilot think faster, his wife and daughter, who had gone to Russia to visit relatives, were detained. For three weeks they were forcibly held in hotels in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

During this time, the pilot was contacted by a Russian intelligence officer acting under the pseudonym “Glavvrach” (“head doctor”), who offered him the title of colonel in the Russian Armed Forces, accommodation, and $30,000 for stealing the plane. At the same time, he threatened that force would be used against his wife and daughter. The Ukrainian pilot agreed to this offer.

The plan was for him to fly over to Russia and land it in Kursk.

  high treason, Su-24