The three key members of Ukraine’s interior ministry perished in a helicopter accident next to a nursery in an eastern Kyiv suburb.
Along with his first deputy minister and state secretary, 42-year-old interior minister Denys Monastyrsky also passed away.
Around 08:30 local time (06:30 GMT), the helicopter crashed in Brovary, killing 14 people, including one kid, according to officials.
No evidence exists that the collision was anything other than an accident.
However, the SBU state security service claimed that it was investigating a number of crash-related scenarios, including sabotage, a technical issue, or a violation of the flight regulations.
A nearby kindergarten building was severely damaged and smoke-blackened as the chopper came down.
The State Emergency Service first reported that up to 18 persons may have died in the disaster, but later changed its estimate to 14 fatalities.
The most prominent Ukrainian victim since the war began is Mr. Monastyrsky, who served as one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political aides for the longest period of time.
The minister was en route to a “hot spot” for conflict when his chopper crashed, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.
The ministerial delegation was its route to meet him in Kharkiv, according to Volodymyr Tymoshko, the city’s police chief, who said he had only spoken to them yesterday.
The interior ministry’s crucial role in managing security and the police during the war makes the minister’s passing particularly painful for the Kyiv government.
President Zelensky requested that there be a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash while making an appearance via video link at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He subsequently added: “In times of conflict, accidents don’t happen. These are all undoubtedly the outcomes of war.”
The president of Ukraine continued by saying that he was unconcerned for his own safety.
Ihor Klymenko, the commander of Ukraine’s national police, has been named acting interior minister in the wake of Mr. Monastyrsky’s passing.
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According to eyewitnesses in Kiev, the catastrophe was caused by Russia’s war.
According to a local resident, Volodymyr Yermelenko, “it was very foggy and there was no electricity, and when there is no electricity, there are no lights on the buildings.”
While important officials are transported across Ukraine at treetop height by helicopter, there are risks involved.
A door panel and one of the helicopter’s rotors that landed on the roof of a car were all that remained of the vehicle. There were three bodies nearby that were wrapped in foil blankets.
The interior minister, who was 42 years old, held an important position in President Zelensky’s administration.
Throughout the conflict, he served as a recognizable face for Ukrainians, keeping them informed of the deaths brought on by Russian missile strikes when the country was invaded in February 2022.
Six ministry employees and three crew members, according to Ukrainian officials, were on board the chopper.
Yevhen Yenin, the first deputy minister, and Yuriy Lubkovych, the state secretary who oversaw the ministry’s operations, both passed away.
Mr. Yenin assisted in representing the Ukrainian government overseas prior to joining the interior ministry.
Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, sent his condolences to every crash victim.
Mr. Tymoshenko said that the loss of its leaders would not have an impact on the functioning of the interior ministry, but his cabinet members’ reactions on national television revealed that they were obviously surprised.
The ministry played a crucial part in Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion, according to MP Mariia Mezentseva, a friend of the late minister.
“He replied to his friends, family, and coworkers around-the-clock. From the beginning of his presidential campaign, he was close with President Zelensky “She spoke to the BBC.
While some sources claimed it seemed to be a French Super Puma aircraft, national police chief Mr. Kylmenko claimed on Facebook that the helicopter belonged to Ukraine’s state emergency service.
When the helicopter touched down, parents were dropping off their kids at the kindergarten before leaving for work.
The president declared, “The suffering is beyond words.” “One of the kindergartens’ property was where the chopper came down.”
There were many casualties on the ground. 11 of the 25 people who were hurt on the ground were children, in addition to the child who was killed.
According to witnesses, the pilot made an effort to steer clear of tall structures before the crash and instead came down close to a kindergarten.
One local woman reported seeing a terrifying flash as the helicopter circled above her house to the BBC. She claimed that the pilot had made an obvious attempt to avoid her 10-story apartment complex and instead decided to descend closer to the smaller structure.
“Parents were yelling and running. Panic was present “explained Lidiya, a neighborhood volunteer. The youngsters were hurriedly evacuated as the fire quickly spread across the daycare building by emergency personnel and locals.
Dmytro, a resident, recalled hopping a fence to help kids escape. Polina was the name of one of the girls he picked up, but when her father ran in yelling her name, he was unable to recognize her because of the blood on her face.
Tetiana Shutiak, Mr. Monastyrskyi’s assistant, also perished in the collision.
The three men, according to interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko, were friends and leaders who had fought to strengthen Ukraine.
“We shall never forget you. We’ll take good care of your family “On Facebook, he posted.
The disaster, according to Ms. Mezentseva, was initially misreported: “But sadly, it’s true.”
Only four days prior, 45 civilians were slain in one of the bloodiest attacks to hit Ukraine since the war’s inception.
45 people, including six children, were killed when a Russian missile struck a building of apartments in Dnipro’s central district.
Ukraine has requested tanks from the West in order to counter any anticipated fresh Russian attack.
Later this week, when Western allies review the war at the German air base of Ramstein, a decision is likely to be reached.