Kyiv: The largest aircraft in the world — Ukraine’s Antonov-225 cargo plane — was destroyed by Russian strikes outside Kyiv on the fourth day of Moscow’s invasion, Ukraine’s state-owned Ukroboronprom group said Sunday.
“Russian invaders destroyed the flagship of the Ukrainian aviation, the AN-225” at the Antonov airport in Gostomel near Kyiv, the group said in a statement.
The aircraft was unique to the world, at 84 meters long (276 feet) it could transport up to 250 metric tons (551,000 pounds) of cargo at a speed of up to 850 kilometers per hour (528 mph).
“The biggest plane in the world “Mriya” (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv. We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine,” tweeted Ukraine from their official Twitter handle, mourning the destruction of the aircraft.
Along with the tweet, Ukraine’s handle posted a picture of the plane with a caption that read: “They burned the biggest plane but our Mriya will never perish.”
The biggest plane in the world "Mriya" (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv. We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/Gy6DN8E1VR
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022
Kuleba echoed a similar sentiment online. “This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’ in Ukrainian). 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!” tweeted the Foreign Minister.
This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’ in Ukrainian). 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! pic.twitter.com/TdnBFlj3N8
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 27, 2022
Antonov has said it cannot confirm what the present condition of the plane is. “Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft. Stay tuned for further official announcement,” tweeted the aircraft manufacturing company.
Russia has been raining cruise missiles down on multiple Ukrainian cities ever since it launched a full-scale invasion of the country on Thursday.
Street fighting raged in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv on Sunday, during which Ukrainian forced managed to take back control of the city from Russian troops who initially pierced through their defences.
The capital Kyiv however, under a strict state-of-war curfew, continues to be on edge as the sound of gunfire and blasts periodically reverberates through the city. As of Saturday, 198 civilians, including three children, have been reported killed in Ukraine’s conflict, while 1,115 people have been wounded so far.
The invasion has triggered a backlash in Russia with the police detaining more than 900 people at anti-war protests in 44 Russian cities on Sunday, raising the total detained since the start of the assault four days ago to over 4,000, independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info said.