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Ukraine charges Antonov officials for destruction of iconic AN-225

written by Robert Dougherty | March 4, 2024

An-225 ‘Mriya’. (Image: Air Charter Service)

The Security Service of Ukraine has charged former Antonov officials in Ukraine following an investigation into the destruction of the AN-225 Mriya strategic airlift cargo aircraft.

The Antonov airliner, the world’s heaviest aircraft, was destroyed during the opening days of the Ukraine War at Antonov Airport in northwestern Kyiv in February 2022.

Staff from Ukraine’s peak law enforcement, intelligence and security authority, have gathered evidence of guilt and allege that former Antonov officials, a chief executive officer and head of aviation security unit, undertook criminal actions leading to the temporary seizure of the strategically important airfield and destruction of AN-225 Mriya.

“According to the investigation, on the eve of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the suspected officials did not allow the National Guard of Ukraine to enter the territory of Hostomel Airport to prepare for its defence,” according to a statement from the SBU published on 27 February this year.

“To do this, in January–February 2022, they ordered to block the access of the Ukrainian military to the territory of the facility.


“The SSU has now completed the pre-trial investigation and has sent the indictment to court. Based on the evidence collected, the former CEO and the head of aviation security unit are charged under Articles 27.2 and 114-1.2 of the CCU (obstruction of lawful activities of the AFU and other military formations).

“The suspects are in custody and face up to 15 years in prison.

“The investigation was carried out under the procedural supervision of the Specialized Defence Prosecutor’s Office.”

The iconic Antonov AN-225 aircraft, designated Cossack by NATO and “Dream” in Ukrainian, held the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service, was the one aircraft with six ZMKB Progress Lotarev D-18T turbofan engines, and was the largest cargo in operational service internationally.

It could reach a maximum speed of 528mph at an altitude of 36,000 feet and travel from the United Kingdom to Australia without refuelling (15,399 kilometres).

The one-of-a-kind aircraft, when operational, was able to transport up to 250 tonnes of cargo, had a built-in crane and was able to accommodate a cargo of 50 cars. The aircraft was designed and built by the Soviet Union in the 1980s and took its debut flight in December 1988.

Historically, the aircraft was tasked with transporting the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program and landed at the 1989 Paris Air Show with the shuttle on its back.

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