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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Don’t trade with Sukhoi – Don’t fly CityJet


At the CityJet check-in desk, London City Airport. Photo: Steve Eason

“Don’t fly CityJet” is the call by Syria solidarity activists in the UK and Ireland today.

Dublin-based airline CityJet is Europe’s leading purchaser of passenger aircraft from Russian state company Sukhoi which also supplies war planes used by Putin and Assad to attack civilians in Syria.

This morning protesters went to London City Airport (above) and Dublin Airport (right) to protest CityJet’s trade with Putin and Assad’s arms supplier.

At the CityJet desk in London City Airport, activists made a “civilian protection announcement” chanting “Sukhoi jets are killer jets” and do not fly killer jets, do not fly CityJet.”

Syria solidarity activists in the UK and the Republic of Ireland issued the following joint statement:

Don’t trade with Sukhoi – Don’t fly CityJet
PDF version

  • CityJet is a leading customer of Russian state-owned arms manufacturer Sukhoi.
  • Sukhoi aircraft have been used to kill thousands of innocent civilians in Syria.
  • Today activists in London and Dublin say: Don’t fly killer jets – don’t fly CityJet.

Sukhoi fighter planes supplied by Russia have been used by the Assad regime to target civilians since 2012. The Russian Air Force has targeted and killed Syrian civilians with its fleet of Sukhoi war planes since directly intervening in September 2015.

In 2016, the Russian Air Force in concert with the Syrian Air Force used Sukhoi jets to deliberately bomb a UN aid convoy in Aleppo. Russian Air Force Sukhoi jets have repeatedly targeted schools and hospitals.

These attacks are crimes against humanity, breaking multiple UN Security Council resolutions and violating international humanitarian law.

This has not stopped CityJet from doing business with Sukhoi. CityJet was the first European airline to purchase Sukhoi’s SuperJet and in 2017 it placed a billion dollar order for Sukhoi aircraft. Sukhoi considers CityJet a valued customer and hopes that CityJet’s operation of Sukhoi aircraft, both under CityJet’s own name and under the names of other carriers on “wet-lease” contracts will boost Sukhoi’s sales.

CityJet’s willingness to trade with the same state company supplying the planes killing innocent people in Syria is sending Putin and his government a message that whatever the crimes they commit, it will be business as usual with Europe.

Now in Eastern Ghouta an ongoing aerial campaign has killed hundreds of men, women, and children and destroyed homes and hospitals despite yet another Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire. Russia is flouting both this UN resolution and the most basic conventions against the targeting of civilians.

Sukhoi Su-22 and Su-24 jets have been photographed dropping bombs in Ghouta over the past few days. In the first six months of the Russian intervention in Syria, Sukhoi Su-25 jets dropped 6,000 bombs on Syria. Russia has been using Syria as a testing ground for new Su-57 stealth fighters.

Sukhoi, which is today part of the United Aircraft Corporation, a company in which the Russian state holds the majority of shares, is an integral part of the Russian machine of murder in Syria.

Syria Solidarity UK and the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement today calls on CityJet to stop trading with Sukhoi, a company which exports death to Syria.

We call on the governments of the United Kingdom, of the Republic of Ireland, and of other EU states, to tighten sanctions on Russia and prohibit trade with Sukhoi, United Aircraft Corporation, and others manufacturing weapons to kill civilians.

We call for an immediate ceasefire in Ghouta and effective action to protect the civilians there and in the rest of Syria.



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