The world’s largest plane has been destroyed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and could cost £2.2billion to rebuild.
The Antonov AN-225 aircraft, also known as Mriya or “dream” to Ukrainian people, was parked at an airfield near Kyiv when Vladimir Putin’s troops destroyed it last Friday (February 25).
The heaviest aircraft ever built was in service for more than three decades before being wrecked by Russian forces as they captured the Hostomel airfield.
Its condition has since been inspected by experts who estimate that restoration will take five years and cost over $3billion (£2.2billion).
The Antonov Company tweeted that it could not verify the “technical condition” of the aircraft until it had been “inspected by experts”.
The Ukrainian state defence company Ukroboronprom – which manages Antonov – vowed in a statement the aircraft would be rebuilt using cash from Moscow.
It said: “The restoration is estimated to take over 3 bln USD (£2.2billion) and over 5 years.
“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.
For the latest stories from the Silver Screen Beat, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here .
“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.”
The Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba slammed the destruction of the plane which reportedly delivered supplies to survivors of the Haiti earthquake in 2010 as well as medical supplies to those in need during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Keleba tweeted: “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!”
The news comes after a 55-year-old Ukrainian man was arrested after allegedly opening valves on the 156ft luxury yacht Lady Anastasia, owned by a Russian boss who sells weapons to Putin so that it would sink.
The yacht became partially submerged, as a result, but it is still tied to its moorings.
After his arrest, he admitted responsibility and even told police: “I don’t regret anything I’ve done and I would do it again.”
However, he was freed by a judge and it is unconfirmed if he faced any charges for his offences.