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Photos Show World's Largest Cargo Plane Destroyed in Ukraine

Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

New images have shown the destruction to what was the world's largest cargo plane, the Antonov An-225, following Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

At 84-meters long and 175 metric tons without fuel and cargo, the aircraft was the longest and heaviest operational plane in the world. It had a maximum take-off weight of 640 tons. The aircraft was incredibly popular with aviation enthusiasts and people often visited airports to see its scheduled arrivals and departures. It was also a symbol of national pride for Ukraine.

The unique plane, which completed its first flight in 1988, was ruined after Russian missiles attacked the Hostomel Airfield on the fringes of Kyiv. It was destroyed on or about Feb. 27, 2022.

Ukrainian forces regained control of the airfield on April 2 following a large-scale Russian withdrawal along the Kyiv axis. It's unclear what will happen to the wreckage now.

The huge plane had six turbofan jet engines and a cruise speed of 800km/h

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

It was previously used to transport military vehicles

Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images

The aircraft was destroyed in its hangar at the Hostomel Airfield, near Kyiv

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian shelling obliterated the plane

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In 1988 it was used as part of the Soviet space shuttle program

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Antonov used to receive many parts from Russian suppliers

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Boeing stepped in when the supply chain dried up in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The aircraft's 88.4-meter wingspan was also the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The number '225' can still be seen on the nose of the wrecked plane

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Tanks surrounding the aircraft following its destruction

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
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