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Ex-head of Antonov company charged with negligence in case of Mriya aircraft destruction

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 5, 2023 6:01 PM 2 min read
The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world's largest cargo plane, destroyed by Russian troops is pictured in Hostomel, Kyiv Region, northern Ukraine. (Volodymyr Tarasov / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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The former director of Antonov State Enterprise, Serhii Bychkov, was charged with official negligence leading to the destruction of the world's largest cargo aircraft AN-225 Mriya, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) reported on April 5.

According to the investigation, Bychkov did not ensure the evacuation of the Mriya aircraft despite the warnings of state authorities and knowledge of the insurance coverage's termination.

The alleged Bychkov's negligence resulted in the aircraft burning down during a Russian air strike on the Hostomel Airport in the early days of Russia's all-out war, the SBU wrote. His actions caused more than Hr 8.4 billion ($227.8 million) in damage to the Ukrainian state, it added.

According to the SBU, the Mriya aircraft was in good technical condition on the eve of Russia's full-scale invasion, the Hostomel Airport had sufficient fuel for the flight, and the crew was ready for departure.

"However, the former General Director of Antonov State Enterprise did not issue the relevant order and ignored the reports and proposals of his subordinates," reads the report.

Hostomel Airport is located 10 kilometers north of Kyiv and became the sight of Russia's initial Kyiv offensive in February 2022. The airport was retaken by Ukrainian forces soon after the Russian airborne forces attempted to secure the airport.

Bychkov is currently being held without bail. In March, the former head of Antonov State Enterprise and other company officials were also suspected of impeding the Ukrainian military from securing the Hostomel Airport.

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