Ukraine: Ex-Antonov managers sabotaged rescue of AN-225

Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service has completed its investigation into the destruction of the Antonov An-225. The public prosecutor’s office accuses former Antonov General Director Serhii Bychkov, of being responsible for the loss of the iconic An-225. He is accused of failing to act in time and not ordering the evacuation of this and other aircraft after Russian troops seized Antonov’s Hostomel airfield near Kyiv. Bychkov is currently under arrest. The damage caused by the shelling is said to amount to the equivalent of over 200 million euros.

The indictment against Bychkov also states that the Mrija was in good technical condition, the crew was ready and there was enough fuel on site for flying the aircraft off in time. “All this indicates that all options existed to evacuate the aircraft and fly it to Leipzig Airport in Germany,” it says. It is also mentioned that 6 other aircraft could have been evacuated but fell victim to the assault. Numerous wrecks, including that of the AN-225, were left behind.

After months of intensive investigations, the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office has come to the following conclusion:

On the eve of the Russian invasion, Bychkov and some other Antonov officials had denied the Ukrainian National Guard access to Hostomel airport. Although the Guard was in the process of preparing its defense, Bykov and parts of the management had blocked Ukrainian military from entering the premises. In a public statement, the prosecutor’s office stated that during the investigation, “indisputable evidence was gathered, which prove the culpable behavior of Bychkov and some former Antonov officials, including the head of the aviation security department.” If convicted, Bychkov and other defendants face up to 15 years in prison for collaborating with the Russian invaders.

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