After a morning in which many crossed versions circulated regarding the final fate of the Antonov AN-225, the Ukrainian government, through a publication made at 3:45 p.m. UTC on its official Twitter account, confirmed the destruction of the aircraft.
“The world’s largest aircraft ‘Mriya’ (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants at an airfield near Kiev. We will rebuild the aircraft. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free and democratic Ukraine,” the account said.
The aircraft was at Gostomel airport at the time it came under attack by invading Russian troops last Thursday. It has also been the scene of further fighting since then.
Alarms among the aviation community were raised this morning when the OSINT_Canada account posted an analysis of satellite imagery and ground photos of the airfield, showing the AN-225 hangar in flames and a silhouette underneath it that resembles that of the aircraft.
Radio Svoboda quoted two anonymous Antonov sources and the mayor of Bucha, a town near Gostomel airport, who assured that the aircraft was destroyed during the attacks.
In response, the Antonov Company, the parent company of Antonov Airlines, which operates the AN-225, said on its Facebook page, “There is a delay in the confirmed information on the status of the aircraft at Gostomel Airport as there is still fighting there. Please await the official announcement on the status of the aircraft.”
Antonov Airlines chief pilot Dmitry Antonov also posted on his Facebook account, “There are many rumors about the condition of the Mriya. Until there is no reliable information we do not believe in anything.”
In any case, the outlook for the aircraft’s future became gloomier when at 2:50 p.m. UTC, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted on his Twitter account a message hinting at the destruction of the AN-225.
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
“This was the largest aircraft in the world, AN-225 Mriya (‘dream’ in Ukrainian). Russia could have destroyed our Mriya. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free, and democratic European state. We will prevail!” Kuleba said.
But finally, the government publication seems to put an end to the versions. Now it only remains to wait for the first images of the site to emerge.