Antonov Defers Comment After Reports Say An-225 Destroyed
Ukrainian aircraft maker Antonov deferred comment after multiple officials and news outlets reported that the An-225 Mriya heavy airlifter was destroyed during fighting at an airport near Kyiv.
The world’s largest aircraft had been parked at Antonov International Airport near Kyiv when the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. The airport has been the scene of continued fighting since a Russian air assault attacked the base later that day.
“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,” Antonov said in a tweet on Feb. 27.
Radio Liberty, a U.S. government-funded media outlet, reported on Feb. 27 the An-225 had been destroyed during fighting at the airport, citing two anonymous sources within Antonov.
A video purportedly showing a destroyed hangar on the base circulated on social media, which also claimed that the An-225 had been destroyed when a bomb hit the facility. The video could not be verified, but several government channels–including the Twitter accounts of the Ukrainian government and the deputy prime minister–echoed the information that the An-225 had been destroyed.
Despite the reports, Antonov itself seemed unsure about the aircraft’s current status.
The An-225 was built by the Soviet Union to ferry the Buran space shuttle, but was converted into an outsized cargo lifter for Antonov International Airlines. Its nickname, which means “Dream” in Ukrainian, spoke to the national and even international interest in the unique six-engine aircraft throughout its service life.