Former Antonov plant director faces new charges for failing to evacuate plane to Germany – SBU

5 April, 06:09 PM
An-225 Mriya aircraft destroyed by Russian troops at the airport in Gostomel, April 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Mikhail Palinchak)

An-225 Mriya aircraft destroyed by Russian troops at the airport in Gostomel, April 2, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Mikhail Palinchak)

Former General Director of Ukrainian state-owned aerospace company Antonov, Serhiy Bychkov, has been notified of suspicion of official negligence, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Telegram on April 5.

Investigators say the former head of Antonov failed to properly perform his duties to ensure the preservation of property from Jan. 30 to Feb. 24, 2022, resulting in the AN-225 Mriya transport aircraft not being transported in a timely manner from Hostomel airport – its home base near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

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The SBU said the aircraft was scheduled to be transported to Leipzig, Germany, as the plane was in a good enough technical condition to make the flight.

However, the former head of Antonov did not issue the necessary instruction for its evacuation, which led to the destruction of the Mriya. These criminal actions caused state losses of UAH 8.4 billion ($228 million).

The SBU added that Bychkov had also failed to ensure the timely renewal of the aircraft’s insurance contract, causing Antonov to lose over UAH 42 million ($1.1 billion) in compensation payments.

The charges were filed under Part 2 of Article 367 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which carries a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment.

At the beginning of March, Bychkov, his deputy, and the head of the aviation safety unit were charged with obstructing the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations in protecting and defending the airport. Bychkov and the head of the aviation safety unit were taken into custody, and the former deputy director was declared wanted. All face up to 15 years in prison.

The only example of the world’s largest aircraft, the An-225, which was designed in Ukraine, was destroyed by Russian forces on Feb. 27, 2022, during the Russian army’s capture of Hostomel. The An-225 Mriya was the world’s largest and most powerful transport aircraft, built by the Kyiv-based Antonov Design Bureau.

It was actively used during the coronavirus pandemic, delivering 103 tons of medical supplies from China to Kyiv in April 2020 to fight against the virus.

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