May 22, 2022

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Photos show the world’s largest plane being destroyed in Ukraine

Hostomel, Ukraine (CNN) – The fuse of this plane is a large, twisted, melted hole. Its giant wings fell to the ground and its engines were burned and destroyed.

You can still see the big tire train on which the plane sits, the blue and yellow stripes of the Ukrainian flag and the nose cone that proudly played its official position “225”.

But it is clear that the Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, will never fly again.

CNN reporters were able to see the full extent of the damage to the plane, known in Ukrainian as “Miriam” or “Dream”, as Russian troops retreated from Hostomel Airport outside Kyiv last week. Precisely, one of the first strategic objectives of the invasion of Ukraine.

The plane, which had been waiting for maintenance during the invasion, crashed under the aircraft carrier.

All around you are the ruins of war: the airport is littered with destroyed Russian equipment, including trucks, tanks, armored carriers and spent ammunition.

The destruction of AN-225 was a symbolic loss in the first moments of the war. The aircraft, originally built to support the Soviet space shuttle program of the 1980s, was a symbol of Ukraine’s pride.

This shocked the aviation industry as well. The aircraft is acknowledged as a marvel of modern aeronautical engineering, which continues to attract crowds at air shows that have been a major attraction, as well as daily cargo trips around the world.

Symbol of this aircraft for Ukraine

Following reports of its destruction, Ukrainian authorities took action to restructure the aircraft. They said Russia would pay another $ 3 billion in reconstruction costs.

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“Russia may have destroyed our ‘Miriam’, but they can never destroy the dream of a strong, independent and democratic European state. We will win,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba wrote on Twitter at the time.

Shortly after taking control of the airport in late February, Russian troops began digging in Hostomal. Satellite images on Thursday revealed the sudden disappearance of Russian troops after several weeks of fierce fighting.

Earlier satellite images showed the Russians building defensive mud piers around military vehicles and artillery positions. Now only the perms remain.

Ukrainian forces brought the facility under their control, claiming it was a significant victory against the Russians. Over the weekend, CNN journalists toured the airport with the Ukrainian National Police.

It is unknown at this time what caused the crash, but whether it was a deliberate sabotage or joint damage from a military operation to seize control of the airport.

But despite the dilapidated condition of the AN-255, many soldiers were still filming the aircraft. Maria’s identity status among Ukrainians has not diminished.

CNN’s Barry Nealt and Paul B. Both Murphy contributed to this story.