While NATO countries are strengthening their presence in Eastern Europe against the background of the Ukrainian crisis and Russia is continuing to conduct its military exercises in turn, both sides surprisingly continue to cooperate closely in the field of air transport.
The joint Russian-Ukrainian company Ruslan SALIS GmbH is going on with cargo transport services for NATO countries, including Belgium, the UK, Germany, Finland and others. The joint venture was established in Leipzig in 2004 by Volga-Dnepr Group of Russia and Ukraine’s Antonov State Company.
The project was established when the old NATO aircraft Transall C-160 became incapable of fulfilling advanced tasks and the new A400M had not yet been available to the alliance.
The main client of the company is Germany. Despite the Ukrainian crisis and strained political situation the German government is still supporting the project.
Nevertheless, the future of the company remains uncertain. If the political situation does not change, the extension of the contract will be highly questionable.
"We are considering a new treaty that excludes the participation of Russian companies in the tender," a representative of NATO press service told DW. NATO plans to suspend practical cooperation with Russia because of its aggressive attitude towards Ukraine, the official stated.