Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky the safe return of two Turkish A400M aircraft stuck in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. 

The two airlifters of the Turkish Air Force flew to Kyiv-Boryspil International Airport (KBP) shortly after midnight on February 24, 2022. According to the Turkish Minister of Defense, they were delivering humanitarian supplies and were supposed to repatriate Turkish nationals. 

However, with the invasion erupting later that day and the closure of Ukraine’s airspace, the two military transport aircraft have since been resting on the tarmac of Boryspil. The crew members found refuge at the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv.  

The Turkish government has been seeking to establish an air corridor with Ukraine and Russia, to no avail. The result of the latest round of discussions, which took place during an official visit of Erdogan to Lviv, Ukraine, on August 19, 2022, was not disclosed. 

The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Defence and Space. It entered service in 2013 and is offered as a successor for older transporters such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-160 Transall. It can transport up to 37 tons of cargo or 116 soldiers with equipment over 4,500 kilometers.   

The Turkish Air Force operates a total of 10 A400M aircraft, including the two stranded in Kyiv. The last aircraft was delivered on March 30, 2022. 

Turkey and Ukraine have grown closer diplomatically since the start of the Russian invasion, notably with the accelerated delivery of Bayraktar TB2 armed drones 

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