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Antonov AN-225 Mriya: World’s Largest Cargo Plane Destroyed by Russia Near Kyiv

Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest aircraft has been destroyed
in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian officials say.

The enormous aircraft, named “Mriya,” or “dream” in Ukrainian,
was parked at an airfield near Kyiv when it was attacked by “Russian
occupants,” Ukrainian authorities said, insisting that they would
rebuild the plane.

“Russia may have destroyed
our ‘Mriya’. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free
and democratic European state. We shall prevail!” 
wrote Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter.

As of the time of going to press, there had not been independent
confirmation of the aircraft’s destruction.

A tweet from the Antonov Company said it could not
verify the “technical condition” of the aircraft until it had been inspected by
experts.

On Sunday, Ukrainian state
defence company Ukroboronprom, which manages Antonov, said the aircraft had
been destroyed but would be rebuilt at Russia’s expense — a cost of $3 billion (34 trillion KSh).

“The restoration is estimated
to take over 3 billion USD and over five years,”
the statement said.

“Our task
is to ensure that these costs are covered by the Russian Federation, which has
caused intentional damage to Ukraine’s aviation and the air cargo sector.”

The company said the
aeroplane was destroyed while it was on the ground near Kyiv on February 24
undergoing maintenance.

“According to the director of
Antonov Airlines, one of the engines was dismantled for repairs and the plane
wasn’t able to take off that day, although the appropriate commands were
given,”
CNN reports.

The news has generated alarm and sadness among the aviation world in which the aircraft is revered.


Only one An-225 was ever built by the Kyiv-based Antonov Company, which came up with the design PHOTO | COURTESY

On Friday, Russian forces
claimed to have captured Hostomel airfield, where the AN-225 was located.

Mriya remains the heaviest aircraft ever built. It is powered by
six turbofan engines and has a maximum payload weight of 250 tonnes, which can
be carried inside or on its back.

The aircraft also boasts the largest wingspan of any aeroplane
in operational service.

Only one An-225 was ever
built by the Kyiv-based Antonov Company, which came up with the design.

It first took flight in 1988 and has been in service ever since
including responding to humanitarian missions like the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

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