MOSCOW, RUSSIA (REUTERS) — Five Russian airlines have returned more than two dozen leased airplanes to foreign lessors, a document seen by Reuters showed, even though Moscow has passed a law allowing the seizure of hundreds of jets as part a response to Western sanctions. The document gave no details on why the five companies decided to leave their leased fleet outside Russia.

"The fate of the planes seized abroad is unknown to us," Nordwind said in a written reply to Reuters, declining further comment. Azur Air, iFly, Pegas Fly, and Royal Flight did not reply to Reuter's requests for comment.

The Planespotters aircraft tracking website said a total of 31 aircraft operated by Azur Air, Nordwind, Royal Flight, iFly, and Pegas Fly did not return to Russia after February 27 and are based in Turkey, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.

Vitaly Savelyev, Russian transportation minister, had estimated that around 400 jets leased from foreign companies remained in Russia while another 78 were seized when they were outside the country.

Some of Russia's top airlines, including state airline Aeroflot, have opened special rouble accounts at domestic banks to deposit cash for jets under the lease, and lessors will be able to claim the money once sanctions are lifted, Vedomosti newspaper reported last week, citing sources. Aeroflot did not reply to requests for comment.