During a November 12 online conference with Ukrainian aircraft companies, the Peruvian Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that its contract with Ukraine for the supply of AN-178 aircraft remains in force. Russian media have put forth several fakes this year claiming Peru had cancelled the contract.
Russian media have been busy spreading fakes claiming that the Peruvian government has pulled out of an agreement with Ukraine for the purchase of Antonov planes, calling the planes invisible ghosts. This is the fourth wave of such fakes this year. Part of this misinformation onslaught is the myth that without Russia’s help, Ukraine’s Antonov Company has not produced a single item from scratch.
Russian media have been spreading fakes about the Ukrainian contract with Peru from the moment the contract was signed in the autumn of last year. Ukraine’s defense export company SpetsTechnoExport and Ukrainian state company Antonov won the contract with the AN-178 model, beating out Leonardo’s C-27J and Airbus’ C295 transport aircraft in an open tender. A few weeks after the contract was signed, Russian media began circulating stories claiming Ukraine was incapable of honoring the contract with Peru and build the AN-178 by 2021. In December 2019 Antonov issued a statement, stating the company had both the facilities and the personnel to fulfill the contract with Peru in the allotted time and published photographs of already completed work.
After this fake was debunked, the Russian propaganda machine launched their misinformation in a different direction, this time claiming Ukraine would be unable to meet the 2021 contract deadline because having cut off cooperation with Russia in 2014, Ukraine no longer had access to Russian components needed for the plane’s construction. This narrative was also debunked; in the summer of 2020 Antonov completed the replacement of Russian components with Ukrainian and Western counterparts. Currently Ukraine is cooperating with European and American companies in the field of aircraft construction.
Russian media however are not abandoning their efforts to tarnish the Ukrainian-Peruvian contract and this fall they launched yet another cycle of distorted and false stories directed at SpetsTechnoExport and Antonov.
In September several Russian publications announced that Peru’s Interior Ministry suspended its contract with Ukraine. Two months after StopFake debunked this story, Russian media launched yet another fake, again claiming that Peru had abandoned its contract with Ukraine and the plane Ukraine was supposed to build was just a mirage.
Despite this onslaught of Russian fakes, on November 12 SpetsTechnoExport and Antonov held an online conference with the Peruvian Interior Ministry during which Peru once again confirmed that the contract between Ukraine and Peru for the supply of the AN-17 aircraft remained in force. The video conference was held from the assembly plant where the aircraft is being built.
During the conference Antonov Acting Director Serhiy Bychkov informed that the plane’s fuselage was assembled two months ago, the plane’s glider assembly has also been carried out, air systems are being completed and the engine is about to be mounted.
Russia’s narrative about Ukraine being unable to build airplanes is simply not true. Since 2015 when the prototype of the new AN-178 transporter took off for the first time, five AN-178 aircraft have gone into production. Antonov is currently building three AN-148 planes and ten AN-158 models. Over the last ten years Antonov has manufactured ten planes from the AN-148 and AN-158 series and six AN-32 craft. Therefore Russian claims that Ukraine cannot work without Russia has not built a single plane after the 2013-2014 Maidan Revolution are complete nonsense.