Russia has failed in its efforts to take Ukraine’s capital, but the suburbs around Kyiv have been decimated in the assault.
Among the rubble: The remains of the massive Antonov AN-225 airplane — also called Mriya, or “dream” in Ukrainian — which had set a Guinness world record for being the largest aircraft by weight.
Ukrainian troops toured the plane’s charred remains Saturday at Hostomel airport on the outskirts of Kyiv — and positioned themselves at the airport’s entrance in a sign that they were in control, the Associated Press reported.
Kyiv’s forces have re-captured territory near the capital as Russian troops pull out of the area as part of an apparent shift in strategy to focus on the country’s south and east.
Russian forces had hoped to use that airfield in their assault on Kyiv, 20 miles to the southeast, and it was captured in the earliest days of the war.
Mriya, weighing some 705 tons with a wingspan of 290 feet, was reportedly destroyed as Russian forces fought to seize the airport in late February,.
The Russian military held this area for weeks until Ukrainian forces claimed it back.
The battle for Kyiv has been brutal, and civilians in the cities around the capital have born much of the brunt of war. As Russian troops retreat from cities and towns they briefly conquered, incoming Ukrainian forces are finding complete devastation from burned-out vehicles to bodies lining streets left behind.
Other planes left the airport when the war began. But the Mriya had been at the airport undergoing maintenance and could not fly out, according to Ukroboronpromm, the Ukrainian company overseeing it. The firm estimated it would take five years and 3 billion dollars to rebuild it — a cost it said Russia should bear.
The Antonov AN-225 was finished shortly before the former Soviet Union’s collapse and was said to be the world’s biggest. The cargo plane was originally built to transport a Soviet space shuttle. In 2009, it was recognized by Guinness World Records for airlifting the heaviest item of any plane: a power plant generator weighing 375,200 pounds.
War in Ukraine: What you need to know
The latest: Russian troops appeared to be regrouping and shifting their focus away from Kyiv. That could set the stage for a new phase in the conflict — centered on the country’s east — that military analysts warn could be long and bloody. Also, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Ukrainians to prepare for “difficult fights” ahead in the besieged port city of Mariupol. And on the southern coast, explosions were heard throughout Odessa on Sunday morning.
The fight: Nearly five weeks into their invasion, Russian forces continue to mount sporadic attacks on civilian targets in a number of Ukrainian cities. Russia has been accused of committing war crimes.
The weapons: Ukraine is making use of weapons such as Javelin antitank missiles and Switchblade “kamikaze” drones, provided by the United States and other allies. Russia has used an array of weapons against Ukraine, some of which have drawn the attention and concern of analysts.
In Russia: Putin has locked down the flow of information within Russia, where the war isn’t even being called a war. The last independent newsletter in Russia suspended its operations Monday.
Photos: Post photographers have been on the ground from the very beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.