Russia’s so-called “doomsday” – which will be used in the event of a nuclear attack by Vladimir Putin – was disbanded and its equipment taken away.
According to the Moscow Times, the Illushin-80 was carrying out maintenance at an airfield in Taganrog, southern Russia, when thieves broke into a cargo vehicle and swiped $ 13,600 worth of gear.
Shoe- and fingerprints were found inside the aircraft.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peksov said the robbery was an “emergency” and promised that “measures will be taken to prevent this from happening in the future.”
The Ministry of the Interior did not specify whether there was a theft.
The break-in was first seen last Friday. Twenty-nine power units were removed.
Russian military experts speculated that the gear was stolen because some contained gold and platinum.
The top secret aircraft were modified from Soviet jet aircraft during the Cold War to serve as an air command post for top officials to control their troops during the crisis.
The Moscow Times said it was one of four aircraft built to withstand electromagnetic pulses and had some windows to protect some passengers from a nuclear explosion.
The first such airplane is believed to have flown in 1985.
A dozen people were questioned by REN-TV this week in a robbery investigation. The network said that officials with access to the airspace may be responsible for the breach.
About 700 miles from Moscow, Taganrog, a Belgaum state-controlled enterprise, is home to the Bereive Aircraft Company.
Berive reported the theft to police last week.
The Ministry of Interior and Béréve declined to comment on the Agence France-Press.
With post wires