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Ex-Antonov executive suspected in Mriya aircraft destruction case

Investigators believe he should have sent the plane to Leipzig in advance.

Ex-Antonov executive suspected in Mriya aircraft destruction case
Photo: Prosecutor-General's Office

The former director of the state-owned Antonov enterprise has been served a notice of suspicion in the case of the downing of the An-225 Mriya aircraft at Hostomel airport during the Russian invasion, the Office of the Prosecutor-General has said.

"Under the procedural supervision of prosecutors of the Specialised Defence Prosecutor's Office of the Prosecutor-General's Office, the former CEO of Antonov was served with a notice of suspicion of office negligence (Part 2 of Article 367 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)," the statement reads.

According to the investigation, from 30 January to 24 February 2022, the former head of the state-owned enterprise improperly performed his official duties to ensure the safety of property. As a result, the An-225 Mriya transport aircraft was not removed from the danger zone – the airfield of the Antonov Aircraft Company in the town of Hostomel, Kyiv Region – in a timely manner.

The National Police also added that on the eve of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, the aircraft was technically sound, there was a sufficient amount of jet fuel stored at the airfield to complete the flight, and the crew was ready to take off.

"All this indicates that there was every opportunity to evacuate the aircraft to the airport in Leipzig (Germany). However, the former CEO of Antonov did not give the appropriate order and ignored the reports and suggestions of his subordinates," the prosecutors said.

Investigators are also checking information on the possibility of evacuating six more aircraft, including An-124 Ruslan, which were then at the airport.

Antonov was headed by Serhiy Bychkov from November 2020 to April 2022.

The Mriya aircraft was destroyed as a result of Russian shelling. The state suffered almost UAH 8.5 billion in losses.

Earlier, the former director of Antonov was also served a notice of suspicion of obstructing the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations to protect and defend the airfield (Part 2 of Article 114-1 of the Criminal Code). He is currently in custody without the option of bail.

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