An-225 Mriya’s evacuation to Germany was canceled last minute, Bild reports

17 March, 12:14 AM
An-225 Mriya after a Russian strike on the airfield in Gostomel, Kyiv region (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

An-225 Mriya after a Russian strike on the airfield in Gostomel, Kyiv region (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

The legendary Ukrainian Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane was scheduled to fly to Germany as the Russian full-scale invasion was imminent, but the plan was put on hold last minute, German newspaper Bild reported on March 16.

According to Bild’s information, the Ukrainian plane was supposed to fly to Leipzig/Halle International Airport, which was considered Mriya’s "second home" – the aircraft made 32 landings there in the past.

Bild notes that the evacuation of the aircraft was planned in advance. According to crew captain Dmytro Antonov, on Feb. 23, 2022 – on the invasion’s eve – he was inside the fully fueled aircraft, ready to depart. The flight was ultimately cancelled "on orders coming from the top."

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“The transfer of the An-225 and smaller An-124 aircraft was scheduled for Feb. 25th,” a spokesman for Leipzig/Halle Airport said in a statement.

“The decision was made on Feb. 21st. There had been discussions about this for weeks prior.”

At the same time, Bild’s journalists claim that parking spaces for the two Ukrainian planes in Germany were prepared by Jan. 26, 2022.

According to the report, satellite images of the airfield at Hostomel indicate that the most important aircraft were deliberately vulnerable to Russian attacks, with other planes remaining intact.

On March 10, Ukraine’s SBU security service charged the former top management of Antonov state enterprise on suspicion of deliberately sabotaging the defense of Hostomel Airport where An-225 was based. Antonov designed, built, and operated An-225 – the world’s heaviest cargo airplane.

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