Thursday, January 19, 2023

14 people were killed in a helicopter crash in Ukraine, including the interior minister

Ukraine interior minister, top officials among 14 killed in copter crash

 Emergency officials say 14 people were killed when a helicopter carrying senior Ukrainian officials crashed on Wednesday in a Kyiv suburb. The helicopter's nine occupants perished in the crash: Denys Monastyrsky, the interior minister, and four other ministry officials, including Monastyrsky's deputy Yevhen Yenin and Yurii Lubkovych, the state secretary of the ministry of internal affairs; a representative of the national police and the three crew members. The officials were flying to the Kharkiv region in the northeast of Ukraine.

Since Russia's invasion began in February of last year, Monastyrsky was the highest-ranking government official to die. A government ministry that had contributed significantly to the war effort was dealt a fatal blow by the deaths of Monastyrsky and his top deputy. The police and emergency services are overseen by the interior minister, as are rescue efforts following missile strikes and the removal of mines. Monastyrsky was President Volodymyr Zelensky's political ally before he took office. He was a member of the National Securityand Defence Council, a group that makes policy and sets wartime goals. In his Wednesday speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Zelensky called for a minute of silence to honor those who had died. After that, he delivered a passionate English speech in which he pleaded with the nation's allies to support his country more quickly. He stated, "The terrorist state uses the time the free world spends thinking to kill."

The State Emergency Services-owned aircraft collided with a kindergarten in Brovary, an eastern Kyiv suburb. At least 25 people were injured, including 11 children, including a child on the ground. At eight, the crash occurred. 20 a.m. (local time), when children are typically dropped off at schools by parents. The crash's cause was unknown, and there was no indication at first that the aircraft had been shot down.

The deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, had previously stated that the government officials aboard the helicopter were traveling to one of the country's "hot spots." During the conflict, senior officials frequently travel by helicopter at low altitude and high speed, increasing the inherent dangers of the flights. Whether the crash was an accident or directly related to the war was not immediately clear. It occurred on a foggy morning, and there have been no recent reports of fighting in the capital region. The ministry of internal affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko stated that investigators were "establishing" the tragedy's cause. We will soon determine whether it was sabotage, a technical issue, or a breach of flight safety regulations.

Images from the scene showed a long trail of fire and smoke rising over a residential area in the suburb of Brovary, which may have been where fuel was spilled. One picture appeared to show damage to the kindergarten's upper floor, while another showed the helicopter's crumpled remains with some of the seats still visible. Suspilne, Ukraine's national public broadcaster, received a report from a witness claiming to have witnessed the helicopter catching fire and circling before it came to a stop.

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