The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained the Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise’s former general director Serhii Bychkov, and a court authorized his arrest for 60 days, on 9 March.

The CFTS portal reported this, citing the Ukrainska Pravda publication.

In addition to Bychkov, the SBU detained Antonov’s head of security O. O. Netiosov and served its Director N. G. Kharchenko with notification of suspicion in absentia.

According to investigators, Antonov officials obstructed the legal activities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations that participated in the preparation for the defense of Antonov’s Hostomel airfield, which led to the capture of the airfield; deaths and injuries among rescuers from the State Emergency Service; and damage and destruction of the enterprise’s property and aircraft, including the AN-225 Mriya strategic airlift cargo aircraft.

According to the publication, investigators documented during a pre-trial investigation that Antonov officials repeatedly refused to grant the National Guard permission to build engineering and fortification structures on the territory of the airfield during the period of January-February 2022, which led to a reduction in their ability to defend the airfield, which is of strategic importance for the defense of Kyiv, and consequently its seizure.

The publication reported that law enforcement officers conducted nine searches in the homes and offices of the suspects on 9 March and served them with notifications of suspicion of committing an offense punishable under Section 2 of Article 114-1 of the Ukrainian Penal Code.

On the same day, an investigative judge at the Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv ordered the detention of Bychkov and Netiosov for 60 days without bail, the publication reports.

As reported earlier, Russian invaders almost destroyed the Antonov An-225 Mriya strategic airlift cargo aircraft in February during an attempt to seize the Hostomel airfield. The captain of the An-225 Mriya, which is the world's largest transport plane, later accused Antonov's management of negligence, as a result of which the aircraft was not flown out of Ukraine on the eve of the Russian invasion.