TORONTO, CANADA — Trudeau government confiscates Russian heavy cargo aircraft for Ukraine amid invasion.

The Canadian government announced on Saturday the seizure of a large Russian cargo plane that has been stationed at Toronto Pearson International Airport since February 2022. The aircraft will be handed over to Ukraine as compensation for Russia's invasion, according to officials.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, stated that this action signals a clear message to Russia, indicating that those benefiting from the Kremlin's aggressive tactics will find no sanctuary.

The seized aircraft is an Antonov An-124 cargo plane, recognized as one of the world's largest cargo transporters. It has been idle at the Toronto airport ever since Canada closed its airspace to Russian-owned aircraft in February 2022. Consequently, the parked aircraft has racked up more than $330,000 in parking fees.

The Antonov An-124 is one of only 26 such planes globally and is capable of transporting bulky items such as satellites, locomotive engines, and wind turbines.

By confiscating the plane, the Canadian government aims to further pressure Russia to cease its unauthorized war against Ukraine by stretching its economic resources and reducing war-supporting materials.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday coincided with the seizure, during which he pledged nearly $375 million in additional military aid to Ukraine.

In response to the seizure, Russia's Ambassador to Canada, Oleg V. Stepanov, called the action illegal and reflective of a lack of rule of law under Trudeau's regime.

Volga-Dnepr Group, the Russian airline owning the plane, was added to Canada's official sanctions list in April and declined to comment on the matter.

In June last year, Ottawa granted itself the authority to seize and enforce the forfeiture of assets owned by sanctioned individuals and entities. If approved by the courts, these assets can then be sold or donated.