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Russia has destroyed the 'biggest plane in the world', it has been claimed.
It's been four days since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine, sending thousands of his troops across the border.
Since then, there have been dozens of skirmishes between Ukrainian and Russian forces, with hundreds of people, including civilians, losing their lives.
And during a battle at Hostomel airport, about an hour outside Kyiv, the Antonov AN-225 'Mriya', the 'largest transport plane in the world' and the only one of its kind, was reportedly destroyed by Russian forces.
Two Antonov employees told Ukrainian radio Radio Svoboda the attack had seen the plane, which was sparked in a hanger, burned down.
According to reports, the aircraft was used to transport large amounts of humanitarian aid around the world at short notice.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs, shared a photograph of the plane and stated that the country would not give up.
He said: "This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’ in Ukrainian). 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 news was also reported by the official Twitter account of Ukraine.
It read: "The biggest plane in the world "Mriya" (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv.
"We will rebuild the plane.
"We will fulfil our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine."
This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’ in Ukrainian). 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! pic.twitter.com/TdnBFlj3N8— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 27, 2022
The biggest plane in the world "Mriya" (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv. We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/Gy6DN8E1VR— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022
CNN reporter Matthew Chance and his team travelled down to Hostomel airport to check on events there on Thursday (24 February) and accidentally came across some Russian troops who had taken control of the site.
The reporter admitted that he had thought the soldiers were Ukrainian and only realised they were Russian while speaking to their commander.
"We didn't know the Russian forces were going to be here," he said.
"We assumed this was the Ukrainian forces, so I went up to speak to the and say, 'Hey, we've come from Kyiv', but it only emerged during the conversation that they were all Russians and there were no Ukrainian military forces in sight, although I can hear them because they've been shooting ferociously in the course of the past few minutes."
"Frankly, we didn't even know the Russian forces were going to be here. We assumed this was the Ukrainian forces .... We came to speak with them ... but only emerged during the conversation that they're all Russians and there are no Ukrainian military forces in sight..." pic.twitter.com/kgDkgR4O9c— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) February 24, 2022
He also explained that Ukrainian officials are fearful that Russian forces are attempting to take the capital and replace the government with a 'pro-Russian' regime.
"I'm standing outside the perimeter of this Antonov air base and it has not been taken back by the Ukrainian military, it is the Russian military who say they are now in control.
"This is about 20 miles from the centre of the Ukrainian capital, and so it just shows us now for the first time just how close Russian forces have got towards the centre of the Ukrainian capital."
Ukrainian forces have since retaken the airport, it has been claimed.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
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