A major security breach has occurred on Vladimir Putin’s high-security 'Doomsday' plane that is built to withstand nuclear war.
Zhora Khachunts, 37, has been jailed for four years and ordered to pay £36,400 in compensation for breaking into the plane and stealing key parts.
However, the taxi driver claims Russian authorities have framed him to cover up the fact that others interfered with the Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome.
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The plane was undergoing a refit in the Russian city of Taganrog when the theft occurred.
Reportedly, some 39 pieces of top secret radio equipment were nabbed, with the stolen goods never being recovered.
The Kremlin have called it an "emergency situation" and suspect that the thief was targeting the gold and platinum within the aircraft's communications system.
The so-called Doomsday plane is windowless and was built for Putin in case of a nuclear attack.
It is designed as a Kremlin-in-the-sky and works as an airborne command post from which the tyrant could control his military.
Officials have said that traces of Khachunts' DNA were found inside and has been held in high security detention since 2020 despite his claims that the DNA was planted.
Russian authorities also say that others, who have not been identified, were involved in the heist.
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Khachunts denies ever going to the high security air base and has no pass to enter.
After his detention Putin's spokesperson insisted that "measures will be taken to prevent this from happening in the future".
Olga Botarkina, Khachunts' lawyer, said: "The investigation did not explain in any way how Khachunts managed to get into the carefully guarded territory. The [prosecutors] simply state that it was done in an ‘unknown way’.
“The cameras didn't work at the time…. The exact date and time of the theft has not been established, so we cannot provide a specific alibi.
“It has not been established how the thief entered the territory of the airfield, how he removed the heavy parts, where they then disappeared. Moreover, in the case file there is no evidence of the existence of these details in principle."
She added: “DNA traces are not fingerprints, anyone can carry them. So the presence of traces does not mean that Khachunts personally touched the handle of the aircraft.”
Khachunts himself said in court: “What’s going on in my soul cannot be described. It's indescribable. I don't wish this on anyone.”
His wife Elena said her husband was a “scapegoat” and that the couple have "been turned inside out".
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