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Ukraine interior minister among 14 dead in helicopter crash

Ukraine interior minister among 14 dead in helicopter crash

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18 Jan 2023 - 19:44
Ukraine interior minister among 14 dead in helicopter crash
author avatar
18 Jan 2023 - 19:44

KABUL (Pajhwok): Ukraine’s interior minister, his deputy and a child were among 14 people killed on Wednesday when a helicopter crashed into a nursery and set it ablaze in a suburb of the capital Kyiv.

Dozens of other people were hurt, including a number of children, many suffering burns. The French-made Super Puma helicopter went down in the fog in Brovary on the eastern outskirts of Kyiv, plummeting into the nursery grounds.

Ukrainian state emergency services said 14 people in total had been killed. Government agencies had earlier published higher death tolls ranging up to 18.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, who was on board the helicopter, was among the dead. He was the most senior Ukrainian official to die since the war began with a Russian invasion in February last year.

The entire side of the nursery building was charred. Above the entrance was a gaping hole. Nearby, debris was scattered over a muddy playground and the helicopter wreckage lay crumpled by an apartment block, rotor blades resting against the entrance.

Several dead men lay in a courtyard, wearing blue uniforms and black boots visible from under foil blankets draped over the bodies.

Vitaliy, 56, said he saw the aircraft fall quickly and crash onto the grounds of the nursery before debris was hurled further into the block of flats.

“I thought it was the engine from a rocket or something like that, something very large,” he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordered an investigation into what he said was a “terrible tragedy”. “The pain is unspeakable,” he said in a statement.

Monastyrskyi died alongside his first deputy, Yevheniy Yenin, and other ministry officials flying in the helicopter operated by the state emergency service. National police chief Ihor Klymenko was named acting interior minister in Monastyrskyi’s place.

Officials said it was too early to determine what caused the crash. None immediately spoke of an attack by Russia.

“Unfortunately, the sky does not forgive mistakes, as pilots say, but it’s really too early to talk about the causes,” air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said, adding it could take at least several weeks to investigate.

The SBU State Security Service said it would consider possible causes including a breach of flight rules, a technical malfunction or intentional destruction.

Western leaders sent condolences and paid tribute to Monastyrskyi, 42, a lawyer and lawmaker appointed in 2021 to run the ministry responsible for the police.

ma

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