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Ukraine’s interior minister is among 18 killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv


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Ukraine’s interior minister, several other senior officials and three children were among the 18 people killed when a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten outside Kyiv on Wednesday.

The helicopter came down near a kindergarten and an apartment building in Brovary, a commuter town for the capital Kyiv that was the scene of heavy fighting early in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Amateur footage circulating on social media showed what appeared to be the charred remains of the plane mixed with the wreckage of nearby buildings and a car crushed by large metal fragments. I heard screams at the scene, which was engulfed in flames.

“A helicopter of the State Emergency Service crashed in Brovary. As a result of the plane crash, the leadership of the Ministry of Interior perished,” said Igor Klimenko, head of the Ukrainian police service, in a statement.

He explained that Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky and his first deputy, Yevgeny Yenin, were killed.

The governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, put the final death toll from the crash at 18, including three children.

He added, “There is information about 29 wounded, including 15 children. All necessary assistance has been provided to them.”

Rescue operations are underway at the site.”

AFP journalists in Brovary saw emergency workers and firefighters working at the site. The rotating blades of the helicopter, which smashed into a nearby building, were also seen.

Klimenko of the Ukrainian police service said earlier that nine of the dead were on board the helicopter when it crashed.

Tragic loss

Denis Monastyrsky, 42, a trainee lawyer, has held the position of Ukraine’s Minister of Interior since July 2021.

He was a key member of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party and was married with two children.

“My colleagues, my friends. What a tragic loss. My deepest condolences to their families,” said Anton Gerashchenko, one of the advisers.

There was no immediate comment on the cause of the accident. Air crashes are fairly common in Ukraine, where use of old and sometimes Soviet-era infrastructure is still common.

In one of the deadliest accidents in recent times, 26 people, most of them cadets, were killed when their Antonov-26 crashed near the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in September 2020.

The town of Brovary, 20 km (12 miles) northeast of Kyiv, was among the urban centers around the capital that Russian forces tried to seize after last year’s invasion of Ukraine.

The areas around the capital are no longer the scene of heavy fighting after the Russian forces were pushed back, but a series of Russian missile strikes have disrupted power supplies across the country, including the Kyiv region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine on February 24 last year.

Turkey offered its condolences

On Wednesday, Turkey’s foreign minister offered his condolences to Ukraine over the helicopter crash in the Kyiv region that claimed the lives of at least 18 people, including the country’s interior minister.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter, “I learned with great sorrow the news of the helicopter crash in Brovary near Kyiv, which took the lives of many people including the #Minister of the Interior of Ukraine.”

He expressed his condolences to “the families of the victims and the friendly people of Ukraine,” wishing a speedy recovery for the injured.

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