Russians ‘destroy’ giant Ukrainian plane that brought PPE to Ireland

World’s largest aircraft ‘Mriya’ transported surgical gowns from China during pandemic

The giant Ukrainian cargo plane which brought personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to Ireland at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been destroyed, according to reports.

The Antonov AN-225, the largest aircraft in the world, was shelled during heavy fight at the Gostomel airfield in near Kyiv on Sunday.

The aircraft was under repair at the time and could not have been flown to a safe location.

In June 2020, the aircraft known as Mriya, landed at Shannon Airport with a cargo from China including a million gowns, masks and other surgical equipment.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid tweeted at the time: "Some great coverage this morning of the Antonov AN-225 cargo transporter landed in Shannon. Carrying 1M gowns which represents 12.5 days of stock based on current demand. Our teams in HSE, and others, have done a super job on PPE in really difficult times. @HSELive #COVID19".

The 640 tonne aircraft is the length of Croke Park and is as big as nine 737s put together. It has a wing span of 88 meters and is 145 metres in length.

It was designed during the Soviet era, but was acquired as the pride of the Ukrainian airfleet in the 1990s.

In a statement UkrOboronProm, the Ukrainian Defence Industry, said the Russians will have to pay the €2.5 billion euro ($3 billion) to replace the plane when the war is over.

"Russia has destroyed our 'Mriya' but the dream of Ukraine to get free from the occupier cannot be destroyed. We will fight for our land and our home until we win," it added.

“And after the victory, we will definitely finish our new “Mriya”, which has been waiting for this in a safe place for many years. Everything will be Ukraine!”