Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has confirmed that the only An-225, the largest operational cargo aircraft, has been destroyed. Antonov has not confirmed it yet.
There’s yet another victim of the conflict underway in Ukraine: the only Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream” in Ukrainian). The Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack) was designed at the end of Cold War and its purpose was to carry the Soviet “Buran” space shuttle and parts of the “Energia” rocket on its back. It operated as the primary method of transporting the Buran-class orbiters from 1988 to 1991. After remaining unused for some years, it was put back in service by Antonov Airlines, a Ukrainian cargo airline, a division of the Antonov aviation company, operating international charter services in the oversized-cargo market with a fleet that included also An-124 Ruslan cargos.
Since then, the An-225 has been used for heavy airlift supporting also international disaster-relief operations transporting huge quantities of emergency supplies as happened during Covid-19 pandemic.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya held multiple records which included being the heaviest aircraft ever built, the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service and the largest cargo in operational service.
The faith of the gigantic aircraft had been already under focus in the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we have reported, posts on social media claimed the lone operational An-225 Mriya had been “damaged” during a battle for Antonov Airport, also called “Hostomel” or “Gostomel” Airport.
Then tweets and posts appeared suggesting the aircraft had survived the initial Battle of Antonov Airport. “The only thing that is absolutely certain about the An-225 as of this hour, is that nothing is certain,” we wrote.
As of Feb. 24, 2022, the aircraft was still intact.
according to the latest information (24.02.2022) the plane was intact
— ANTONOV Company 🇺🇦 (@AntonovCompany) February 25, 2022
However, images coming from the airport on Sunday Feb. 27, showed the very same hangar used to host the Mriya in fire, suggesting the aircraft had been destroyed.
I think the AN225 may be gone pic.twitter.com/Ch9cjDsIUP
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) February 27, 2022
Some reports saying that AN225 was destroyed pic.twitter.com/5Jswr0Uocg
— Galo 🇪🇸 💙💛 (@gvspotter) February 27, 2022
After a few hours, the first official confirmations have arrived.
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
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
Still, Antonov has not confirmed the reports yet.
Update on the information of #AN225 “Mriya” aircraft: Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.
— ANTONOV Company 🇺🇦 (@AntonovCompany) February 27, 2022
We will update the post as new details/confirmations emerge.