MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Nearly 80 aircraft belonging to Russian airlines have been seized abroad due to anti-Russian sanctions, Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said.

"We had 1,367 aircraft in the country prior to the sanctions. We have lost 78, they were seized during flight operations," Savelyev said during a meeting of the Federation Council's Economic Policy Committee.

"The planes were seized, including in countries friendly to Russia - in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia," he said.

He said Russia was trying to negotiate with Western leasing companies to buy the aircraft out, but they are not willing to negotiate. In light of this, Russia has started to transfer the fleet to the Russian register.

"We have already transferred to the Russian register almost 800 aircraft, we are insuring them at Russian reinsurance companies, which operate under the Central Bank, and these planes remain. We are looking for legal ways to negotiate with lessors and resolve this issue, but so far it has not been possible. There is a ban their on demanding their return, they are unwilling to enter into negotiations on compensation for their payment or purchase of by Russian airlines," Savelyev said.

"But we are not losing hope and we are not giving them away because to do so would leave us without aviation. You understand this, and therefore the government made such a decision," he said.

Flights continue, but at some stage, carriers will need spare parts for aircraft, Savelyev said. He said the authorities were seeking a solution to this issue, going by the experience of Iran, which has been under sanctions for many years.