By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Russian strikes outside Kyiv destroyed the Antonov-225 cargo plane on the fourth day of Moscow’s invasion, Ukraine’s state-owned weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom said. It was not immediately clear how many people died in the tragedy.
“The Russian occupiers destroyed the flagship of Ukrainian aviation – the legendary An-225 Mriya. It happened at the Antonov airfield in Hostomel near Kyiv,” the group added in published remarks.
It said that the plane restoration would cost more than $3 billion and take a long time.
Experts say the aircraft is unique to the world as with 84 meters long (276 feet), it could transport up to 250 tonnes (551,000 pounds) of cargo at a speed of up to 850 kilometers per hour (528 miles per hour).
It had been named “Mriya,” which means “dream” in Ukrainian.
“This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya, ‘” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on social media. “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!” he added.
The airport and other areas have seen violent clashes since Russia’s invasion, launched by President Vladimir Putin Thursday. The Russian army has said it is trying to seize strategic infrastructure, but it faces stiff resistance.
More than 4,300 Russian forces have been killed, Ukrainian Defence officials say, though the Kremlin has not confirmed those figures.
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