An Ilyushin-76 military transport plane of the Ukrainian Air Force crashed during the night of 13-14 July in the Persian Gulf, killing all eight on board. The plane had just taken off from the United Arab Emirates with an as yet unspecified forty-ton cargo bound for Mikolayiv, Ukraine, on behalf of a Ukrainian commercial firm. The plane and its military crew of seven were based at the Uzin airbase near Kyiv. The Russian firm Ilyushin, builders of the plane, and Russian aviation authorities will participate in the investigation of the crash. (International agencies, Eastern Economist Daily (Kyiv), July 14)
The crash throws a doubtful light on an otherwise successful commercial program. This aircraft was one of the many planes leased by the Ukrainian air force to civilian private companies, in an effort to generate income for Ukraine’s impoverished armed forces. The Defense Ministry created for this purpose last year a leasing agency attached to the air force. The leases often run for three years. The commercial users are held responsible for the maintenance and security of the airplanes during the leasing term. This is the first known catastrophe abroad involving a leased Ukrainian military plane.
ALIEV RULES OUT THE USE OF FORCE IN KARABAKH.