US targets Abramovich plane, 99 others over Russia export violations

Russian airlines have weeks to orchestrate alternative supplies of banned aircraft parts or start grounding jets to avoid safety concerns.

 Roman Abramovich watches his team during their English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal (photo credit: REUTERS/EDDIE KEOGH)
Roman Abramovich watches his team during their English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDDIE KEOGH)

The US Commerce Department will on Friday move to effectively ground 100 airplanes that have recently flown to Russia and are believed to violate US export controls, including a plane used by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, officials told Reuters.

The list, seen by Reuters, includes 99 Boeing airplanes operated by Russian passenger and cargo carriers including Aeroflot, AirBridge Cargo, Utair, Nordwind, Azur Air and Aviastar-TU -- as well as Abramovich's Gulfstream G650 -- and could further hinder Russian efforts to continue some international flights.

The Commerce Department will warn companies and other entities around the world that any refueling, maintenance, repair, or spare parts or services violate US export controls and subject companies to US enforcement actions that could include "substantial jail time, fines, loss of export privileges, or other restrictions," the department said.

The department said in a statement the action means "international flights from Russia on these aircraft are effectively grounded."

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimando said in a statement to Reuters the department is "publishing this list to put the world on notice—we will not allow Russian and Belarusian companies and oligarchs to travel with impunity in violation of our laws."

 Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London October 31, 2011.  (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW WINNING) Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London October 31, 2011. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW WINNING)

The United States, Canada and much of Europe have barred Russian planes from flying over their airspace, which has forced the cancellation of much of Russia's international flights.

The rules apply to any US manufactured aircraft or any with more than 25% US-origin controlled content that were re-exported to Russia after the new stringent controls on aviation-related items for Russia took effect on February 24.

Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves said in a statement the series of US actions "have isolated Russia and Belarus from the global economy, and I hope that today’s action brings that fact home to the Russian businesses and oligarchs that seek to continue their operations."

This week, Reuters reported Russian airlines have weeks to orchestrate alternative supplies of banned aircraft parts or start grounding jets to avoid safety concerns as Western sanctions following Russian's invasion of Ukraine threaten their post-Soviet revival.