The death of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine: what we know about the helicopter crash that killed 14 people

This is a “terrible tragedy” for Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine. Ukraine’s head of state on Wednesday expressed “unspeakable pain” after Wednesday’s helicopter crash in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, that claimed the life of Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, as well as 13 other people.

What is a balance sheet?

The crash killed at least 14 people, including a child. While an estimated 18 people died, including three minors, the toll was slightly revised downwards in the early afternoon. Denys Monastyrsky, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, his first deputy Yevgeny Ienin and State Secretary of the Ministry Youriï Lubkovytch were among the victims. They were on the plane with six other people.

Authorities, however, fear a much higher toll, with 25 people injured in hospital, including 11 children. In a message posted on Telegram shortly before 17:00 (local time), Oleksiy Kuleba, the regional governor, confirmed this assessment, indicating that “search and rescue operations” had concluded.

What happened ?

The plane crashed near a kindergarten in Brovary, a town of 100,000 people on the eastern outskirts of the capital Kyiv. When the tragedy occurred, the kindergarten’s “children and employees” were present, said Oleksiy Kuleba. In pictures circulating on social networks, the remains of the helicopter can be seen mixed with debris, near a car which was crushed under the weight of the metal.

“I called a friend who lives there. He told me that something had happened to the nursery school, that he had helped three six, seven year olds to go out and take care of them, “said a teenager on the antenna of the Ukraine channel Sulpine. “He told me to come, we helped clean the car so Help can come,” he added.

Several witnesses described to AFP the scenes of fear they experienced. “I heard a sound, a hum, then a bang,” said Glib Kassyan, who was nearby. “Then I heard screams, children were running, they started over the fence, I started taking them, helping them, giving first aid. There were a lot of them,” he recalls. “My wife brought some children to the house. They were looking for their parents, they were crying, ”explained another witness.

Why is the device crashing?

President Volodymyr Zelensky quickly asked the national police to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy. The plane that crashed belonged to the State Service for Emergency Situations under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, according to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force.

The Minister of Internal Affairs went to the front. “The aim of this flight (to go) to one of the hot spots in our country where fighting is ongoing,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential cabinet, told Ukrainian television. There is no information yet regarding the cause of the accident. Ukraine’s security services said they were considering all avenues, including “deliberately destructive acts”.

Who is Denys Monastyrsky?

A former lawyer by profession, the 42-year-old minister has been in office since July 2021. In 2019, he became a member of the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, under the label “Servant of the People”, the president’s party. Denys Monastyrsky is “young, very creative” and a “nice person”, said Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko in Davos (Switzerland), where he is participating in the World Economic Forum.

“During the war, he was always proactive and supported and defended the lives of our citizens. It is a great treasure for his family” and “for our entire country”, he added.

Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky. AFP/Genya SAVILOV AFP or licensor

Tributes to honor Denys Monastyrsky quickly poured in, especially from the Ukrainian leaders, all marked by this tragedy. “The pain is unspeakable,” wrote Volodymyr Zelensky on Telegram. Anton Gerashchenko, his ministry adviser, expressed his sorrow and “deepest condolences” to the family of his “colleague, friend”.

Very quickly, other senior Western officials reacted. French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “saddened by the tragic death” of the minister. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, also regretted the death of the Ukrainian minister, “a good friend of the European Union”.

Emotions aside, the German government was quick to offer its assistance in the investigation. The crash was “terrible news”, said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, saying she was “deeply saddened” by the death of her colleague and collaborator and the fact that children also died.

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