The government of Ukraine has confirmed that the world's only An-225, operated by state-owned Antonov Airlines (ADB, Gostomel), has been destroyed during a Russian airstrike on Gostomel airport.

UR-82060 (msn 19530503763) operated its last revenue flight on February 5, 2022, flying from Billund to Gostomel, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. As it was under maintenance, it was thus not able to leave Ukraine before the Russian invasion. Despite the government's confirmation, Antonov Design Bureau said on February 27 that it was still unable to inspect the aircraft and report on its condition. Earlier recordings from Gostomel airport showed a fire raging in the hangar in which the An-225 was usually stored.

The has government pledged to rebuild the aircraft once the conflict is over.

"It will cost over USD3 billion to restore the plane, the restoration shall be time-consuming. Ukraine will make every effort to ensure that the aggressor state pays for these works," state-owned defence holding UkrOboronProm, which manages Antonov, said in a statement.

UkrOboronProm's general director, Yuriy Husyev, added that the Ukrainian government was planning to finish the construction of a second An-225 hull. The assembly of the second, slightly modified aircraft of the type began in the 1980s, began before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but was subsequently shelved indefinitely with the partially built airframe also stored at Gostomel airport. Antonov Airlines has been seeking financiers to finish the assembly of the second An-225 for years.

Gostomel airport, a non-commercial facility located some 40 kilometres north of Kyiv, has been a target of Russian attacks given it would be a convenient staging point for an assault on the Ukrainian capital.