Ukraine: Minister killed in helicopter crash near school | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine: Minister killed in helicopter crash near school | War in Ukraine

A helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in the Kyiv region on Wednesday morning.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky was killed near Kyiv on Wednesday in the crash of his helicopter that killed at least 18 people, including 3 children, while traveling to the front line in the midst of war with Russia.

The purpose of this flight [was to go] to one of the hot spots in our country where the fighting is taking place. The interior minister was going there, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy chief of staff of the presidency, told Ukrainian television.

According to a message from the Governor of the region Oleksiï Kouleba, on Telegram, there are also 29 wounded, including 15 children, which raises fears of an even heavier toll.

President Volodymyr Zelensky called the crash a terrible tragedy, adding that he had asked the National Police to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy.

The death of the minister is a great loss, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal said on Telegram.

European Council President Charles Michel lamented on Twitter the death of a great EU friend.

In images circulating on social media, the remains of the helicopter could be seen mixed with debris, near a car destroyed under the weight of the metal. Firefighters and police were on the scene, according to an AFP team.

The aircraft crashed near a nursery school in the kyiv region, causing significant damage, on January 18, 2023. The story of Lise Villeneuve.

In addition to Denys Monastyrsky, 42, his first deputy Yevgeny Lenin and State Secretary of the Ministry Yuriy Lubkovych were among the victims. They were on board the aircraft alongside six other people, Ukraine's national police chief said in a statement.

A former lawyer by profession, the minister had been in office since July 2021. In 2019, he became a member of the Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, under the label Servant of the people, the presidential party.

The crash took place in Brovary, a town of some 100,000 people that borders the eastern suburbs of Kyiv. Significant fighting had opposed Ukrainians and Russians there when troops from Moscow tried to force the lock of the capital in the first weeks of their invasion which began on February 24, 2022.

At the time of the tragedy, children and employees of the kindergarten located near the scene of the accident were at the scene, said Mr. Kouleba.

According to footage posted on social media, a massive fire broke out after the helicopter crashed near a residential building.

No information on the cause of the tragedy was immediately revealed.

The kindergarten near the helicopter crash site has suffered significant damage.

According to Mr. Kouleba, the circumstances of this accident are being worked out.

The crashed aircraft belonged to the State Service for Emergency Situations under the Interior Ministry, according to a Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson. /p>

One ​​of the last major accidents of this type in recent years in Ukraine dates back to September 2020. At least 26 people died in the crash at that time ;an Antonov-26 near Kharkiv.

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This new tragedy comes four days after a deadly strike in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, blamed on Russian forces by Ukrainian officials.

A missile had ravaged a residential building on Saturday, killing at least 45 people, including 6 children. It was one of the deadliest bombings since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The youngest victim in Dnipro was 11 months old, lamented Tuesday evening the Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Ukrainian Presidency, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Rescue workers carry a woman rescued from the debris of a building hit the day before by a Russian missile attack in Dnipro.

Under the rubble, the emergency services extracted the wounded, but also lifeless bodies, trapped under huge slabs of concrete. The search has since ceased.

This new strike on a civilian target has caused great emotion among the Ukrainian population, while the country has been fighting against the Russian invasion for almost 11 months, often in very difficult conditions.

Moved, President Zelensky vowed to bring everyone guilty of this war crime to justice, pointing directly at the Russian military as responsible for this carnage.

Moscow, for its part, strongly denied any involvement in this bloody strike, as in previous episodes.

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