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Russia Calls Off Major Air Show Amid Security Fears – Reports

MAKS in 2021. Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Russia has called off a showcase biennial air show amid reports of security concerns and military equipment shortages arising from the 15-month war in Ukraine, state news agencies reported Wednesday.

Russia's International Air and Space Salon (MAKS) has been used by the authorities to display Russia's achievements in high-end technology since it was inaugurated in 1993.

MAKS XVI, which had been scheduled for July 25-30, has been “postponed,” news agency Interfax reported, citing an unidentified source close the organizers.

Five aviation industry sources who spoke with the Kommersant business daily cited security concerns as the reason for the cancelation. 

Instead, the event could either be held next year or switch its format to a “conference” instead of air show, according to Interfax.

Russia has seen a string of drone attacks, including against the Kremlin, in recent weeks ahead of what is expected to be a major Ukrainian counter-offensive. Kyiv has denied reponsibility for the incidents. 

Other reasons for scrapping MAKS this year are that Western sanctions against Russia’s aviation industry will limit foreign participation and domestic projects are not in a state to be presented to potential buyers, the business daily Vedomosti reported, citing an unidentified source close to the Russian government.

Citing two sources, Vedomosti reported that MAKS is expected to take place in the summer of 2024.

MAKS, which usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors and includes displays of hundreds of planes, is organized jointly by Rostec and Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry. 

In the past, Russia has used the event to unveil new warplanes, including the Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter.

Russia's Armed Forces have reportedly lost thousands of pieces of high-tech military equipment since the Kremlin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022. 

The losses include at least 82 planes and 90 helicopters in Ukraine, according to Dutch group Oryx, which uses open-source data to track Russia’s materiel losses. 

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