Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there are “no wartime accidents” after a helicopter crash in the capital Kyiv killed 14 people.
Ukraine did not claim Russian involvement, but Zelensky told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the tragedy was the result of the war.
Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky dies at 42 with his first Deputy Minister and Secretary of State.
The helicopter crashed near the nursery school at around 8:30 am (local time).
Authorities said one of the 14 people killed was a child.
There is no indication that the crash was anything other than an accident.
But the SBU State Security Service said it was looking at several possible causes of the crash, including sabotage, technical glitches and flight rule violations.
Key officials often fly helicopters over Ukraine at tree level to avoid detection, but that comes with risks.
State emergency services initially said up to 18 people were killed, but later revised the death toll from the crash to 14.
The helicopter was recognizable only by the door panel and one of the rotors, which landed on the roof of the car. Next to it were his three corpses covered with foil blankets.
Monastyrsky, Zelensky’s longest-serving political adviser, is the most high-profile Ukrainian victim since the war began.
His death pierced the heart of the Kyiv government.
He has kept the public updated on casualties caused by Russian missile attacks since Ukraine was invaded in February 2022 and has been a recognizable face to Ukrainians throughout the war.
Deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office Kirilo Tymoshenko said the minister was on a helicopter to travel to the “hot spots” of the war.
Volodymyr Tymoshko, the chief of police in northeastern Kharkiv, said that a team of ministers was on their way to meet him and that he had just spoken to them yesterday.
After Monastirsky’s death, the Chief of the National Police of Ukraine Ihor Klimenko was appointed acting Minister of the Interior.
Mr Tymoshenko said the interior ministry’s work would not be affected by the loss of its leader, but government colleagues were visibly shocked when they reacted on state television.
MP Maria Mezentseva, a friend of the late minister, said it was a tragedy for everyone, as the ministry played a key role in Ukraine’s response to the aggression.
“He was available 24/7 to his colleagues, friends and family. He was very close to President Zelensky from day one of the presidential election,” she told the BBC.
Other officials who died in the crash included Monastirsky’s aide, Techyana Štiak, First Deputy Minister Yevgen Yenin, and Yuri Lubkovich, the secretary of state tasked with organizing the ministry’s work. was included.
Before moving to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yenin was the foreign representative of the Ukrainian government.
US President Joe Biden offered his condolences to all victims of the crash.
Parents were taking their children to kindergarten before going to work when the helicopter crashed.
“It’s an indescribable pain,” Zelensky said. “A helicopter fell on the territory of one of the kindergartens.”
Many of the casualties were on the ground. As well as the children who died, he was 11 of his 25 wounded on the ground.
Eyewitnesses in Kyiv said the Russian war was responsible for the disaster.
“It was very foggy and there was no electricity.
Other witnesses said the pilot had tried to avoid a skyscraper before the crash, but instead crashed near a kindergarten.
A local woman told the BBC she saw a terrible flash as the helicopter circled over her home. The pilot apparently tried to avoid her 10-story apartment and chose to approach a smaller building, she said.
“My parents were running screaming. They were panicking,” said local volunteer Lidiya. Emergency services and residents rushed to evacuate the children as the fire spread through the nursery building.
Another resident, Dumitro, explained that he jumped over the fence and helped the children out. One girl he picked up was called Polina, but when her father called her name and ran, her face was covered in blood, so he couldn’t recognize her.
It was just four days ago that Ukraine suffered one of the deadliest attacks since the start of the war that killed 45 civilians.
A Russian missile hit apartment blocks in central Dnipro, killing 45 people, including six children.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/482721/no-accidents-in-war-ukrainian-president-volodymyr-zelensky-on-helicopter-crash-that-killed-14 ‘No accidents’ in war – Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in helicopter crash killing 14 people