ANKARA, ($1=14.68 Turkish Liras) — The Turkish Air Force is currently having to do without two Airbus A400Ms and their crews, which arrived at Kyiv Boryspil Airport a few hours before the Russian attack on Ukraine – and have been stuck there ever since, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing FlugRevue. What were the planes carrying?
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A classic case of bad timing: On the night of February 23rd to 24th, two A400Ms of the Turkish Air Force left Ankara and Eskişehir for the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in quick succession. The military transporters landed at Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport in the early hours of the morning – the first at 3:47 a.m. local time, the second at 4:49 a.m. Only a few hours later, the first Russian soldiers crossed the border into Ukraine, Russian planes and helicopters attacked Ukrainian positions and airfields. War has been raging since then, Boryspil Airport is also fought over – and the two Turkish A400M are still standing around there.
Negotiation about the possibility of a return flight
From Turkey, it has been heard that the crews of the planes have stayed in the Turkish embassy while the government is negotiating with the two warring parties Russia and Ukraine about the date and time for a possible return flight home. The A400M “is currently waiting at Boryspil Airport after the airspace was closed immediately after our arrival,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said about a week ago in the presence of media representatives. From this, it can be concluded that the aircraft – at least at this point in time – was still intact and had not been damaged by combat operations. Akar further explained that the A400Ms were ready to take off again after unloading their cargo on February 24, but were stopped on the runway due to the airspace closure and had to taxi back to their parking position.
Drones in the luggage?
Meanwhile, the question of what kind of cargo the Turkish transporters delivered to Kyiv is not entirely clear. Official statements by the Turkish government speak of “relief supplies” for Ukraine. Various media also read about a planned evacuation mission for Turkish citizens. Such relief and evacuation flights were not announced in advance. Other sources, therefore, suspect that the two A400M were carrying new Bayraktar TB2 drones from the Turkish manufacturer Baykar, which had been ordered by the Ukrainian army.
A statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on March 1 fits in with this. There it was said that a new batch of TB2 combat drones had arrived in the country and was already being used against the Russian invaders. Between February 25th and March 4th, more A400Ms flew from Turkey to the crisis region – not to Ukraine, however, but to Rzeszów in Poland, near the Ukrainian border.
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