Ukraine helicopter crash leaves 18 dead, including interior minister and three children

Helicopter crashes near kindergarten in Kyiv suburb with three children among dead

By Lucy Ashton

The Irish Times is reporting that a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday killed 18 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and three children, Ukrainian authorities said.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy Yevhen Yenin, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych were among those killed, according to Ihor Klymenko, chief of Ukraine’s National Police.

Mr Monastyrskyi is the most senior Ukrainian official to have died since the start of the war with Russia almost 11 months ago.

Nine of those killed were on board the emergency services helicopter that crashed near a kindergarten and a residential building in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the capital, Mr Klymenko said.

Kyiv regional governor Oleksii Kuleba said three children were also killed.

Twenty-two people, including 10 children, were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the crash a “terrible tragedy” that caused “unspeakable” pain.

“I have instructed the Security Service of Ukraine, in cooperation with the National Police of Ukraine and other authorised bodies, to find out all the circumstances of what happened,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

The helicopter belonged to the Ukrainian Emergency Service and the officials were on board.

“There were children and … staff in the nursery at the time of this tragedy. Everyone has now been evacuated. There are casualties,” Mr Kuleba wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Videos shared on social media showed a burning building and people could be heard screaming. Reuters was unable immediately to verify the footage.

It was not immediately clear what caused the helicopter to crash. There was no immediate comment from Russia, and Ukrainian officials made no reference to any Russian attack in the area at the time.

“We are finding out information about casualties and the circumstances,” the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, was seen dabbing her eyes and pinching her nose in emotion minutes before attending the World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland. “Another very sad day today – new losses,” she said.

Forum president Borge Brende requested a few moments of silence after opening the session to honour the Ukrainian officials killed.

The crash came just four days after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in southeastern Ukraine killed 45 civilians, including six children – the deadliest attack on civilians since the spring.

“Haven’t had time to recover from one tragedy, there is already another one,” said Mr Tymoshenko. – Agencies

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