The destruction of the largest plane in the world: the arrest of former officials in Ukraine

On Friday, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced the arrest of two former aviation officials for their role in shooting down the world’s largest plane, the Antonov 225 ‘Mriya’, at the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

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The State Security Administration said on Telegram that the former director of the Antonov aircraft factory and the head of its security service had been arrested and that the deputy director, who was “hiding from justice”, was the subject of a wanted poster.

“Those who de facto helped the enemy destroy one of Ukraine’s symbols should suffer well-deserved punishment,” Vasil Malyuk, head of the SBU, said in a press release.

According to the SBU, the three former officials “prevented the Ukrainian military from building fortifications” at Gostomel Airport, near Kiev, in January and February 2022, which then became the scene of heavy fighting.

“These criminal actions led to the temporary invasion of this strategic airport and adjacent sites and the destruction of the Mriya plane” (“Dream” in Ukrainian), the only copy of which was on this site, this organization declared.

According to the same source, the three men accused of “preventing the lawful activities” of the army face up to 15 years in prison.

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At the end of February 2022, the Russian army destroyed the only copy of the “Mriya”, the largest aircraft in the world manufactured by Antonov, during the fighting at Gostomel Airport, twenty kilometers northwest of Kiev.

This unique machine in the world has a length of 84 meters and can transport up to 250 tons of cargo at a speed of up to 850 km / h.

The An-225 was initially built as part of Soviet aviation programmes, in particular to carry the Buran space shuttle, and made its maiden flight in 1988.

After several years of inactivity due to lack of resources following the fall of the Soviet Union, the only extant copy made a test flight in 2001 at Gostomel.

It has been operated ever since by the Ukrainian Antonov Airlines.

This aircraft played a vital role in distributing masks around the world during the COVID-19 crisis, and was regularly used by NATO and oil companies to transport oversized shipments.

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