Ukraine interior minister, others killed in helicopter crash
Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs and others from his office were among 15 people killed when a helicopter crashed Wednesday in the Kyiv region.
Denys Monastyrski, his first deputy Yevhen Yenin and internal state secretary Yuri Lubkovych were killed in the crash, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a Telegram post, as were their assistants and the helicopter’s crew.
“Denys, Yevhen, Yuri, the team of the Ministry of Internal Affairs… true patriots of Ukraine. May they rest in peace! May all those whose lives were taken this black morning rest in peace!” Zelensky said.
The helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in the residential suburb of Brovary and a fire broke out at the crash site, the president said. Three children were also killed and 25 people, including 10 children, were injured.
“The pain is unspeakable,” Zelensky said.
Kyiv Regional Governor Oleksii Kuleba in a Telegram update reported a higher death toll of 18 total dead.
Monastyrski, who oversaw the country’s police and emergency services, is Ukraine’s most senior official to die since the start of the war.
Ukraine’s Security Service and National Police are looking into the incident.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden called Monastyrski a “reformer and a patriot” in a statement Wednesday afternoon offering their condolences, saying the Ukrainian official and his team “were deeply involved in the preservation of Ukraine’s democracy—both its defense against Russian aggression, and the vital work of reforms to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions through this war and into the future.”
“The United States stands with the people of Ukraine in the face of this tragedy, and for as long as it takes,” they added.
The crash comes after a Russian missile strike hit a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro in one of the war’s deadliest attacks on civilians, killing at least 40 Ukrainians.
As the country’s war with Russia nears the one-year mark, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska said over the weekend that Ukrainians can persevere “for even longer” and endure through Russian intimidation and Moscow’s continued attacks on civilian targets.
–Alex Gangitano contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:34 p.m.
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