KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating a case of alleged official negligence concerning the destruction of the Antonov An-225 heavy transport aircraft during a battle at Kyiv's Gostomel airport. 

The former Antonov general director is being accused after an inquiry revealed that the An-225 was not removed from the hazardous area, according to the general prosecutor's office.

During the initial stages of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, which began in February the previous year, Gostomel was heavily attacked, including shelling. The prosecutor's office states that the director failed to adequately carry out his official duties to ensure the protection of property from January 30 to February 24.

The An-225, the only instance of the six-engine freighter, was destroyed during the military action, resulting in damages to the state of nearly Hr8.5 billion ($230 million). The Ukrainian state security service (SBU) asserts that the Antonov head should have arranged for the aircraft's timely evacuation.

The SBU claims that the plane should have been moved to the airport in Leipzig, Germany, for protection. The investigation found that the An-225 was in suitable technical condition for flying out of Ukraine just before the Russian invasion. However, the failure to plan the aircraft's departure from Gostomel led to its destruction. The SBU also claims that a prompt extension of aircraft insurance was not secured, resulting in the loss of over Hr42 million in compensation payments.

During last year's investigation, the SBU discovered that officials had denied Ukrainian national guard personnel access to Gostomel, preventing them from preparing airport defenses and fortifications. Vasyl Malyuk, the head of the SBU, stated in March this year that the organization was conducting a fair investigation and that anyone who aided enemies in destroying "one of Ukraine's symbols" should be punished.

The An-225, with the registration UR-82060, was a modification of the four-engine An-124, featuring a lengthier fuselage, an expanded wingspan to accommodate two additional Ivchenko-Progress D-18 turbofans, and a redesigned tail with dual vertical fins. This twin-tail design provided stability and rudder control for transporting oversized loads, such as the Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle.