World’s largest airplane reportedly destroyed in Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine — The world’s largest plane was reportedly destroyed during fighting with Russian troops at the airport outside Kyiv where it was parked.

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The Antonov AN-225 “Mriya” — or “dream” in Ukrainian — was in a hangar when it was attacked by “Russian occupants,” according to CNN.

The Ukroboronprom company said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press that the AN-225 was “destroyed” but would be repaired.

“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!” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

There is no official confirmation that the aircraft has been destroyed but the Antonov Company said it will inspect the aircraft and report on its condition.

The AN-225 is used to move extremely large cargo and has been used in airlift aid including the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In 2009, it broke the record for the single largest cargo item ever sent by air with a generator that weighed over 410,000 pounds.

The aircraft was originally designed to ferry the Soviet-era Buran orbital vehicle, — U.S.S.R.’s response to the Space Shuttle program. The aircraft later went into use as a military cargo aircraft before it was reintroduced to commercial operation.

Its arrivals and departures at overseas airports often attract aviation buffs to observe the lumbering plane with a 290-foot wingspan. Only two planes have been built with larger wingspans — the Stratolaunch and the Hughes “Spruce Goose” — but each was used only for a single flight.

A second plane was under construction, but the project was reportedly cancelled due to a lack of demand in 2021, according to AeroTime Hub.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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