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SBU: Antonov officials suspected of obstructing Hostomel Airport defense in early 2022
The former head of Antonov State Enterprise, his deputy, and the head of the aviation security unit are suspected of impeding the Ukrainian military from securing the Hostomel Airport on the eve of Russia's all-out war, according to Ukraine's Security Service (SBU).
Their obstruction of the airport's defense led to Russian forces briefly taking control of the airport and neighboring communities on Feb. 24, 2022, and the Antonov 225 Mriya aircraft getting destroyed, the SBU said.
SBU investigators determined that from January to February 2022, the suspects intentionally prohibited the Ukrainian military from constructing defensive fortifications and barriers around the airport.
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.
The former head of Antonov State Enterprise and the head of the aviation security unit have been detained, the SBU said. The former head's deputy is currently being sought by authorities.
Serhiy Bychkov, head of the Antonov aircraft manufacturing and services company, was dismissed from his post in March 2022 after being publicly alleged of obstructing Ukrainian defenses.
If found guilty, all three suspects could face up to 15 years in prison.