The Taganrog City Court sentenced Zhora Khachunts to four years in a strict regime colony and payment of compensation in the amount of 2.7 million rubles (44 thousand euros) under the article on the theft of equipment from an Il-80 intended for control of the RF Armed Forces in the event of an armed conflict using nuclear weapons and known as the “doomsday plane”. The verdict was delivered on Thursday, July 28.
According to the court, Khachunts and his accomplices, as part of a preliminary conspiracy, entered the protected area of the airfield, boarded the aircraft through the emergency door, dismantled and stole aircraft equipment belonging to the Russian Defense Ministry.
In December 2020, a source in law enforcement agencies reported that, in particular, boards from radio stations disappeared from the Il-80, which at that time was at the airfield of the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK) named after Beriev. Employees of the main department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Rostov region opened a criminal case on the fact of theft of property.
Arrested for driving without a license
Zhora Khachunts was detained at the end of December 2020, according to his wife, Elena Khachunts, for driving without a license.
As Mediazona reported, immediately after the administrative arrest for driving without a driver’s license, Khachunts was sent to a pre-trial detention center under paragraph “b” of part 4 of article 158 of the Criminal Code – “large-scale theft committed by a group of persons by prior agreement.” The maximum punishment for it is up to 10 years in prison. According to the first version of the accusation, Khachunts’ accomplices were not named, they were talking about “other unidentified persons.”
Didn’t admit guilt
The defendant pleads not guilty. The man explains the accusations against him by the fact that “someone needs to be imprisoned.” The wife of the accused claims that her husband had nothing to do with the Beriev TANTK. Lawyer Olga Boyarkina has already stated that the defense will “write an appeal.” The verdict has not yet entered into force.
IL-80 – command post, based on liner Il-86. Since 1987, four such liners have been produced. They are designed to evacuate the government leadership in case of danger. The situation with the theft of equipment in December 2020 was commented by a spokesman President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov. He called the incident “an emergency” and said that such a thing should not happen again. At the same time, Peskov was unable to clarify who should guard these aircraft – the Russian Ministry of Defense or the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.