17:20 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Ukraine denies links to N. Korean arms plane

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    Ukraine denied on Friday allegations that a cargo plane loaded with illegal weaponry from North Korea was charted by a Ukrainian company.

    Ukraine denied on Friday allegations that a cargo plane loaded with illegal weaponry from North Korea was charted by a Ukrainian company.

    An Il-76 cargo plane carrying 35 tons of weaponry was seized during refueling at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on December 12. Officials said the weapons included portable anti-aircraft missile systems and spare parts for ground-to-air missiles shipped from N. Korea to an unknown destination.

    The Kazakh and Belarusian crew of the plane who are being held in custody have said they were unaware of the military nature of the cargo. The crew captain, Kazakh national Ilyas Isakov, claimed that the crew had been hired by the Ukrainian Aviatek company, "which charted the plane."

    Ukraine's National Security Council carried out an investigation into these allegations and concluded on December 24 that the Il-76 seized in Thailand did not belong to any legitimate Ukrainian company.

    "The probe [into the incident] established that officially authorized Ukrainian arms exporters or air carriers have not been involved in events linked to the arms-laden Il-76 plane seized in Thailand," the Security Council said in a statement on Friday.

    "Any attempts...to find "a Ukrainian trail" in this incident are insinuations aimed at using an international 'arms scandal' to influence the [January 17] presidential election in Ukraine," the statement said.

    According to the council, the Il-76 plane with no cargo on board landed on October 13 at an airport near Kiev and stayed at a technical parking lot in line with international rules and procedures.

    The plane left Ukraine without any cargo on December 8 heading for Azerbaijan, the council said.

    MOSCOW, December 25 (RIA Novosti)

     

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