The Ukrainian interior minister is among the victims of a helicopter crash that killed at least 14 people near a suburb of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Wednesday.
The helicopter was traveling to the Kharkiv region when it crashed near a kindergarten in the suburb of Brovary.
Ukrainian officials initially said more people had died, but Ukraine’s State Emergency Service later said that 14 people, including all nine people on board the helicopter and one child on the ground, had died. Another 25 people, including 11 children, were hurt, according to NPR.
The Ukrainian government confirmed that Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, 42, was killed in the crash, along with the deputy interior minister, Yevhen Yenin, State Secretary of Ministry of Internal Affairs Yuri Lubkovych, and staff members.
“The pain is unbearable,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of the crash. “May all those whose lives were taken this black morning rest in peace!”
“This is not an accident because it has been due to war, and the war has many dimensions, not just from the battlefield,” Zelenskyy said on Wednesday. “There are no accidents at wartime. These are all war results.”
Bridget A. Brink, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, tweeted her condolences, “Shocked and saddened by the terrible news from Brovary. My deepest condolences to the loved ones of Minister Monastyrskyi, First Deputy Yenin, and all those killed and hurt in this morning’s crash. Our hearts are with the Brovary community and our friends and partners at @MVS_UA,” referring to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The cause of the crash has not yet been confirmed, but there was dense fog in the area when the helicopter went down. The Security Service of Ukraine started an investigation on Wednesday. The Security Service said it would investigate three possible reasons for the crash: the helicopter broke down, it flew even though visibility was bad, or it was intentionally targeted.
The helicopter crashed in a neighborhood with apartment buildings, a shopping center, and playgrounds. When the helicopter crashed, a piece the size of a door and other parts flew across the kindergarten playground. Blankets were used to cover bodies on the ground.
One mother, Inga Litchenko, had brought her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Elyzaveta to the playground in a stroller. She said that she had planned to send Elyzaveta to this school.
“It’s very frightening, you can see that the helicopter crashed into the kindergarten,” Litchenko said. “I want to emphasize that it was very foggy and I don’t know why they decided to take the helicopter in such weather.”
A few hours after the disaster, the Ukrainian government named Ihor Klymenko, the chief of the Ukrainian National Police, acting minister of internal affairs.
An official from the president’s office said that Monastyrsky’s group had planned to go to one of the “hot spots” in the country. The Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior oversees law enforcement, the police, the national guard, and state emergency services.