The invasion of Ukraine by Russia had already been tough and scary for a lot of people, as so many lives have already been lost. However, Russian occupants recently just did a huge blow to the aviation world. It was recently confirmed by Ukrainian officials that the Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest aircraft, had been destroyed after Russia had invaded Hostomel airport, where the plane was located, which isn’t too far away from Kyiv’s city center.
No independent confirmation of the plane’s destruction has arisen, but Antonov (@AntonovCompany) said on Twitter that the company that could not verify the plane’s technical condition. During the invasion, the plane had one of its engines dismantled because it was undergoing repairs, so it couldn’t fly away once the fighting started on February 24th. Ukroboronprom, Ukraine’s state-owned aerospace conglomerate which manages Antonov, has stated that they plan to repair the plane, costing around 90 billion Ukrainian hryvnias (or 3 billion USD) and that the Russian Federation will have to cover the expenses. It’s expected that the repairs will take five years to complete.
The plane, also known as Mriya (or “Dream” in Ukrainian), was originally built when the Soviet Union was still in power in the 1980s and it remains the heaviest aircraft ever built. It’s powered by six turbofan engines, can have a maximum payload weight of 250 tons, which can be carried inside or on the plane’s back, and it has the largest wingspan of any aircraft currently in service since its first flight in 1988. A second version of the Mriya was planned for construction by Antonov, but it was never finished. The plane was originally used to transport heavy equipment and vehicles, but it was also used to bring relief supplies to Haiti after its earthquake in 2010, as well as transporting medical supplies to countries affected by COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic.
As you may expect, many Ukrainians as well as aviation fans all around the world are devastated to hear the news of the unfortunate destruction of Mriya, expressing their sorrow on social media websites. “Mriya – You will always be remembered!” wrote Sam Chui, an aviation blogger on Twitter.
“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 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.