The world’s largest aircraft has been destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, authorities informed Sunday, adding that they would rebuild the plane. 

The official Twitter handle of Ukraine posted, “The biggest plane in the world ‘Mriya’ (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv. We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfil our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.”

Also Read | How the Russia-Ukraine crisis is expected to affect the global economy

Ukrainian Foreign Minister also shared the news on his social media, “Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya’. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We shall prevail!”

The aircraft Antonov AN-225, called ‘Mriya’ (meaning dream), was manufactured by Ukrainian aeronautics company Antonov. At the time of invasion, the AN-225 Mriya was under repair at Gostomel Airport, so it did not have time to leave Ukraine.

Also Read: Kyiv reports 352 Ukraine civilians, 3,500 Russian troops killed in war: 7 major updates

The company is yet to give official confirmation of its destruction at Hostomel Airport near capital city Kyiv – which has been under attack for over four days now.

In its latest tweet regarding the plane, Antonov had said, “Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.”

However, the Ukrainian state defense company Ukroboronprom, which manages Antonov, issued a statement on Sunday saying the airplane had been destroyed. It added that the reconstruction, expected to cost around $3 billion over five years, would be rebuilt at Russia’s expense, reported CNN.  

Also Read: Edging towards ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, says Kyiv mayor as Russia closes in

“Russia has hit the Mriya as a symbol of Ukraine’s aviation capabilities. An-225 “Mriya” — avia giant, which holds records for transportation of biggest commercial cargo and longest and heaviest in the history of aviation monoloading, lifting capacity. Unfortunately, these options are lost today, however they will be definitely restored. The occupiers destroyed the airplane, but they won’t be able to destroy our common dream. Mriya will definitely be reborn. The restoration is estimated to take over 3 bln USD and over 5 years. Our task is to ensure that these costs are covered by the Russian Federation, which has caused intentional damage to Ukraine’s aviation and the air cargo sector,” the statement read.

“According to the director of Antonov Airlines, one of the engines was dismantled for repairs and the plane wasn’t able to take off that day, although the appropriate commands were given,” another statement by Ukroboronprom noted.

Also Read: US to directly send Stinger missiles to Ukraine for 1st time: Report

Russia launched a massive invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, after months of military build-up at the border and heightening suspicion of war by the West. Moscow’s aggression is considerably the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.

Russian forces on Friday closed in on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in an apparent encircling movement after a barrage of airstrikes on cities and military bases around the country. 

More than 190 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the first four days of the invasion, Ukraine’s health ministry said. As many as 352 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, including 14 children, and 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded, Kyiv reported on Monday.  

Both death tolls are likely to be higher.