Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denis Monastirski and other senior ministry officials are among 16 dead in a helicopter crash in Ukraine’s Kyiv region city of Brovari, emergency services confirmed on Wednesday, after local authorities initially announced 18 casualties. The head of the Ukrainian police, Igor Klimenko, stated in a message on his account on the social network Facebook that “a helicopter of the state rescue service crashed in Brovari.” “As a result of the accident, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs died: the minister, the deputy minister [Yevheni Yenin] and the Secretary of State [Yuri Lubkovich]”, he stated. The cause of the accident was not disclosed for the time being.
A total of 16 people died, including three children. At least nine of the dead were aboard the device. “All specialized services work on site,” he added. Minutes earlier, the governor of Kyiv, Oleksi Kuleba, said the helicopter “crashed near a kindergarten and a residential building.” “At the time of the tragedy, children and staff at the facility were in kindergarten. All have been evacuated,” he had highlighted via his Telegram account. Kuleba estimated 29 people were injured, including 15 minors, Portal reports.
Deputy Advisor to the Ukrainian Presidency Kirilo Tymoshenko said that “the number of reports of casualties in Brovari is increasing”. “We don’t have time to recover from one tragedy and we already have another,” he lamented, referring to last Saturday’s Russian attack on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro that left 45 civilians dead and 19 more disappeared .
A soldier near the bodies of the event. At least 18 people died, including Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denis Monastirski, after a helicopter crashed in the town of Brovari, east of the capital Kyiv, on Wednesday morning, regional governor Oleksi Kuleba confirmed. VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)Firefighting teams are working at a nursery near where the helicopter crashed. SERGEY DOLZHENKO (EFE)Nine of the victims were traveling by helicopter. Among the deceased are at least three children, the first deputy minister and the secretary of state. Kuleba detailed in a message published on the Telegram network that 29 people will be hospitalized, including 15 children.SERGEI SUPINSKY (AFP)A couple at the spot where the helicopter crashed, this Wednesday in Brovary. VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)A body is lying on the ground in the scene.VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)A firefighter works in a kindergarten near the place where the helicopter crashed SERGEY DOLZHENKO (EFE)Remains of the helicopter in the kindergarten near the event. Daniel Cole (AP)A group of firefighters are working in a kindergarten affected by the event this Wednesday. VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)Military and police inspect the event site in Brovary, east of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, this Wednesday SERGEI SUPINSKY (AFP)Police officers and neighbors meet near the event.VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)
The importance of the Ministry of the Interior in the war is crucial. Under Monastirski’s command were not only the police forces, but also the National Guard and the Border Guard, those two departments directly involved in the fighting on the front lines.
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According to Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat, clarifying the reasons for the incident will take weeks: “It is too early to talk about the causes. There are several factors that can cause this disaster. Aircraft accidents take time to be investigated. Kyiv and its surroundings, including Brovari, woke up in the fog this morning. Video of the helicopter aired on Telegram just before the crash, taken by a neighbor, showed the plane at a very low altitude and in poor visibility.
The Security Services of Ukraine (SSU, the secret services) are investigating the incident, according to a statement from their press office, taking into account three hypotheses: that the pilot did not comply with safety regulations during the flight, that a breakdown caused an accident or that it was “a premeditated one action to destroy the plane”.
Civilian air and helicopter traffic is blocked in Ukraine due to the threat of being shot down. The movement of helicopters is extraordinary and always at a very low altitude so as not to be detected by enemy radars. It’s not often in Kyiv that you see helicopters flying over the city, and when they do, the roofs of the buildings are leaking.
The Ukrainian authorities have always avoided disclosing how members of the government and their President, Volodymyr Zelensky, move around the country. Iiulia Mendel, Zelenski’s former spokeswoman, added that Monastirski had helicoptered to positions near the front lines. Sources close to the president who this newspaper consulted last year indicated that part of the route Zelensky takes on his travels can be covered by helicopter. Zelensky was in a car accident on one of his trips to eastern Ukraine last September.
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