Death of Ukraine’s Interior Minister: What we know about the helicopter crash that killed 14

Death of Ukraine’s Interior Minister: What we know about the helicopter crash that killed 14

It was a “terrible tragedy” for Ukraine by Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian leader on Wednesday expressed his “unspeakable pain” after a helicopter crash on Wednesday in Brovary on the outskirts of Kyiv, killing his Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and 13 others

What is the balance sheet?

At least 14 people died in the crash, including a child. With an estimated 18 dead, including three minors, the toll was revised down slightly earlier in the afternoon. Among the victims are the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky, his first deputy Yevgeny Ienin and the state secretary of the ministry Youriï Lubkovytch. They were on board the plane with six other people.

But authorities fear an even higher number of 25 injured in hospital, including 11 children. In a message posted to Telegram shortly before 5 p.m. (local time), regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba confirmed this assessment and indicated that the “search and rescue operations” had ended.

What happened ?

The plane crashed near a kindergarten in Brovary, a town of 100,000 on the eastern outskirts of the capital Kyiv. At the time of the tragedy, “children and employees” of the kindergarten were on site, said Oleksiy Kuleba. In images circulating on social media, the remains of the helicopter were seen mixed with debris next to a car that was crushed by the weight of the metal.

“I called a friend who lives there. He told me that something fell in kindergarten, that he helped three children aged six, seven go out and took care of them,” a teenager said over the antenna of Ukrainian channel Sulpine. “He told me to come, we helped clear cars so help could arrive,” he added.

Several witnesses told AFP the horrifying scene they witnessed. “I heard noises, a buzz, then a pop,” said Glib Kassyan, who was nearby. “Then I heard screams, children came running out, they started going over the fence, I started taking them, helping them, giving them first aid. There were a lot,” he recalls. “My wife brought some children home with her. They looked for their parents, they cried,” explains another witness.

Why did the device crash?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was quick to urge the national police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. The crashed plane belonged to the State Service for Emergency Situations of the Interior Ministry, according to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force.

The Minister of the Interior went to the front. “The purpose of this flight (was) to go to one of the flashpoints in our country where fighting is taking place,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential cabinet, told Ukrainian television. There is no information yet on the cause of the accident. Ukrainian security services said they are considering all possibilities, including “deliberate destructive actions”.

Who was Denys Monastyrsky?

The 42-year-old minister, a former lawyer by profession, has been in office since July 2021. In 2019 he became a member of the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, under the label of “servant of the people”, the presidential party. Denys Monastyrsky is “young, very creative” and a “good person,” said Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

“During the war he was always proactive, supporting and defending the lives of our citizens. It was a great treasure for his family” and “for our entire country,” he added.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.  AFP/Genya SAVILOVInterior Minister Denys Monastyrsky. AFP/Genya SAVILOV AFP or licensors

Tributes to Denys Monastyrsky poured in quickly, particularly from Ukrainian leaders, all of whom were scarred by the tragedy. “The pain is unspeakable,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram. Anton Gerashchenko, his adviser to the ministry, expressed his sadness and “deepest condolences” to the families of his “colleagues, friends”.

Other high-ranking western officials reacted very quickly. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “sad at the tragic death” of the minister. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, also lamented the death of the Ukrainian minister, “a great friend of the EU”.

Beyond the emotions, the federal government very quickly offered to help with the investigation. The crash was “terrible news,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, saying she was “very sad” about the death of her counterpart and his staff, and that children were also killed.