Ukrainian minister among 18 dead in helicopter crash near Kyiv

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is among 17 people who have died after a helicopter crashed by a nursery in a Kyiv suburb, authorities have said.

Images from the scene show huge flames and a plume of smoke going into the sky in Brovary, which is located northeast of the capital.

Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and First Deputy Minister Yevhen Yenin were among those killed in the incident, as well as three children.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the officials were “true patriots of Ukraine”.

He added: “As of this minute, three children died. It is an indescribable pain.”

There has been no immediate information about what caused the helicopter to come down.

Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said 29 people were also hurt in the crash, including 15 children.

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Authorities initially said that 18 people had died but this has been revised down to 17.

Footage from what Ukrainian police said was the scene showed flames across a wide area of the suburb where the aircraft came down.

Mr Kuleba added: “At the time of the tragedy, children and staff of the institution were in the kindergarten.

“Everyone has now been evacuated.”

Ambulance services, police and firefighters are working at the scene.

Mr Monastyrskyi, who was in charge of the Ukrainian police and other emergency services, is the most senior Ukrainian official to have died since the start of the war with Russia almost 11 months ago.

A view shows the site where a helicopter falls on civil infrastructure buildings, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, said: “Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi, his 1st deputy Yevhen Yenin and Ministry’s state secretary Yurii Lubkovych died today in Kyiv region.

“My colleagues, my friends. What a tragic loss. Deepest condolences to their families.”

First lady Olena Zelenska was seen dabbing her eyes shortly before taking part in a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland.

She said: “Another very sad day today – new losses.”

UK foreign secretary James Cleverly tweeted: “Denys was a true friend of the UK. We are ready to support Ukraine in whatever way we can.”

The EU’s home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson described Mr Monastyrsky as a “hero”.

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks to Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi during a visit to a training base of the National Guard, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Odesa region, Ukraine June 18, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo
Denys Monastyrskyi pictured previously with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska reacts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland after the news of a helicopter crash in Ukraine, where Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky died among others on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska reacts at the World Economic Forum in Davos after the news of the helicopter crash. Pic: AP

“News of the death of Denys Monastyrsky, Yevhen Yenin and Yurii Lubkovich has shocked me deeply. My condolences to the families of all the victims of this tragedy. Denys is a true Ukrainian hero – over the last year leading with bravery and stoicism,” she said on Twitter.

“He was my friend. Working with him this past year was an honour. The EUHomeAffairs community and Interior Affairs Ministries in all 27 capitals, will feel this loss greatly. We will continue our work helping Ukrainians and helping Ukraine, in Denys’ memory. Slava Ukraini”

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