Amid days of bloody fighting and unrest, Russia’s path of destruction in Ukraine now includes the world’s largest cargo aircraft, Ukrainian officials confirmed Sunday.
“The biggest plane in the world ‘Mriya’ [The Dream] was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv,” Ukraine said on social media. “We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.”
Questions regarding the fate of the Soviet-era strategic airlift cargo airplane with the 290-foot wingspan immediately began circulating last week following fighting at Antonov International, a cargo airport owned by aircraft manufacturer Antonov.
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
Ukrainian forces launched an artillery strike and shot down three of 34 Russian attack helicopters that were also accompanied by attack aircraft and fighter jets, according to a statement released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Following the attack, initial reports circulated that the Antonov An-225 Mriya—the only operational copy of the world’s largest cargo airplane—was destroyed amid fighting. The claim, however, was reportedly refuted by an Antonov Airlines captain, who said on social media that while Russian Forces held the airport, the aircraft remained whole, Airlive Media reported.
Built in the mid-1980s, the An-225 Mriya was a record breaker from the time it rolled off the production line, according to Simple Flying. And for good reason. In addition to being the heaviest aircraft in the world, the An-225 is known for having the largest wingspan and for carrying the longest piece of air cargo: two test turbine blades.