Arctic Sea: those two Ilyushin-76 cargo planes
A COURT in Russia's far northern region of Arkhangelsk is hearing testimony from six men accused of hijacking the Arctic Sea, a cargo ship, in 2009, the bizarre disappearance of which prompted international speculation about a secret Russian arms sale to the Middle East gone awry. see
Alexei Bartenev, the brother of one of the defendants, says the case remains a mystery. Why Russia flew the eight alleged hijackers and some of the crew - 16 people in all - were flown from Canary Islands to Russia on two large Ilyushin-76 cargo planes capable of carrying 40 tons each, if not also to carry weapons or other illicit cargo. "All I can say is that it's very suspicious."