KYIV, Ukraine – An attack on an airport last week near Ukraine’s capital destroyed the world’s largest airplane, according to officials.
In a tweet posted on Ukraine’s verified account, officials said that the Antonov AN-225, which was called "Mriya," or "dream" in Ukrainian, was destroyed by "Russian occupants" and vowed to rebuild the plane.
Footage appearing to show the plane burning after the attack was circulated on social media Thursday. Antonov Company retweeted the video, saying they cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft until they can inspect it.
Ukrainian defense officials said in a statement that the plane was undergoing repairs at the Antonov airfield in Gostomel, about 20 miles northwest of Kyiv when the facility was attacked.
"The occupiers destroyed the airplane, but they won’t be able to destroy our common dream," officials said in the statement. "Mriya will definitely be reborn. The restoration is estimated to take over 3 bln USD and over 5 years."
Officials said they would make every effort to ensure Russia covers the cost of rebuilding the airplane when the war is over.
Brief history of ‘Mriya’
The Antonov AN-225 "Mriya" was built under the Soviet Union amid the space race with the U.S.
The 276-foot-long plane was capable of carrying more than 551,000 pounds of cargo. Due to its size, it could not land at most airports.
The plane was used to transport the Buran, Russia’s first spaceplane, sometimes referred to as the Russian space shuttle because it looked like NASA’s space shuttle. Buran is Russian for "snowstorm."
Buran was Russia’s only reusable spaceplane but never carried a crew to space.
The Soviets launched Buran on Nov. 15, 1988, into orbit without a crew. Two more Burans were made, but the program was canceled, according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Mriya conducted 14 flights with Buran, according to Antonov Company.