Ukrainians vow to piece together world’s largest plane obliterated by Russian troops

Ukraine mother weeps over son's grave after senseless attack

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The Antonov-225 Mriya, meaning the Dream, was obliterated at the Hostomel airport near Kyiv during the opening days of the war in February. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that although Russia had destroyed the plane, which was a source of Ukrainian national pride, they “would never” destroy the “dream” of a free democratic Ukraine.

He said: “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!”

The Ukrainian state arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom has said it could cost more than $3billion (£2.24billion) to repair the plane, which they aim to get Moscow to pay.

The cargo plane, which has six engines and weighs 314 tonnes, was originally designed by the Soviet Union when Ukraine was one of its 15 constituent republics.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya was designed and built in Ukraine during the 1980s by the Antonov Corporation.

It measures 275 feet (84 metres) long, with a 288-foot (88 metres) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field.

The aircraft is capable of carrying a payload equivalent to ten battle tanks or 189,601 kg.

The plane has an extensive history and transported a Soviet Space Shuttle on its roof and in 1991 transported two children, then aged 10 and 11, who were victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the US for treatment.

In a statement retweeted by the Ukrainian President’s office, the Ukrainian said the plane would be rebuilt.

They said: “We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfil our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.”

Ukroboronprom boss Yuri Gusev said the plane would be rebuilt at the “expense” of the “occupant”.

He said: “The Russians destroyed An-225 ‘Dream’, it will be restored at the expense of the occupant.

“Russian invaders destroyed the flagman of Ukrainian aviation – the legendary An-225 ‘Dream.

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“This happened at Antonov Airport in Gostomel near Kiev, where the plane was.

“Its restoration will cost more than $3billion and will take a long time.

“Ukraine will put all its efforts to make these work paid by the state-aggressor.

“The invaders destroyed the plane but they can’t destroy our common dream. She will surely be reborn.

“Our task is to make these costs covered by the Russian Federation, which caused deliberate damage to Ukrainian aviation and freight aviation sector.

“Russia destroyed our ‘Dream’, but the dream of free from occupant Ukraine is impossible to destroy.

“We will fight for our land and our home to a victorious end.”

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