On Sunday (28 February), 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.
However, on Tuesday (1 March) Professor Paul Byrne tweeted 'Don't count the #An225 out just yet'.
Don't count the #An225 out just yet—I've superposed this drawing onto what seems to be the jet's exposed tailplane, seen in this image posted earlier by @CSBiggers.— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) March 1, 2022
Although there's substantial damage to the hangar, most of the airframe is under the undamaged section. pic.twitter.com/yo2uw6fl53
Alongside satellite images, he wrote: "I've superposed this drawing onto what seems to be the jet's exposed tailplane, seen in this image posted earlier by @CSBiggers.
"Although there's substantial damage to the hangar, most of the airframe is under the undamaged section."
He added: "Of course, we won't know until photos from ground level turn up—and even if the airframe escaped the worst of the damage it's still entirely possible it's no longer airworthy.
"But it's also possible most of the aircraft, at least structurally, is undamaged.
"At least, I hope so."
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."
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
Ukrainian state defence company Ukroboronprom, which manages Antonov, on Sunday (28 February) issued a statement saying the aircraft had been destroyed but would take billions to rebuild.
"The restoration is estimated to take over 3 billion USD and over five years," the statement said.
"Our task is to ensure that these costs are covered by the Russian Federation, which has caused intentional damage to Ukraine's aviation and the air cargo sector."
According to reports, the aircraft was used to transport large amounts of humanitarian aid around the world at short notice.
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.