December 10, 2023

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Ukraine’s Security Service identifies Russian carrier of Shahed drones from Iran

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has collected evidence against Yuri Velikoklad, the sanctioned CEO of Russian air company 223 Liotny Otryad (223 Flight Squad) under the Ministry of Defence of Russia.

Source: Press service of the Security Service of Ukraine

Details: According to the SSU, Velikoklad provided the aircraft for transporting Russian troops and armament from the Middle East and Africa to the war in Ukraine.

It was Velikoklad who arranged the transportation of the Shahed kamikaze drones from Iran to the Ukrainian border. On 3 July 2023, the Ukrainian city of Sumy was attacked with these drones.

Then the Russians launched attacks on two residential buildings and an SSU building. The attacks resulted in civilian casualties.

Quote: “It was determined that the Iranian-made drones were transported to the territory of Russia by a military transporting Il-76 aircraft from the aircraft park owned by Velikoklad’s company.

Moreover, at the end of 2022 and at the beginning of 2023, the official provided the aircraft for the transportation of the units of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) from Africa to the war in Ukraine.

Then the militants were deployed near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast to conduct the assault on the city.

To carry out the flights, the leadership of the militants signed agreements with Velikoklad’s company and transferred funds to its accounts for using its aircraft.

It was documented that the Wagnerites spent RUB 56 million (US$574,211) on eight international flights.

In order to disguise their contacts with Velikoklad’s company, the members of the Wagner PMC used Russia-controlled commercial structures outside the country.”

Details: Reportedly, Velikoklad was served with a notice of suspicion.

Since the perpetrator is in the territory of Russia, complex measures are being taken to bring Velikoklad to justice for crimes against Ukraine, the SBU said.

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