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Ukrainian Interior Minister killed in helicopter crash near Kyiv

  • A helicopter crashed in the fog near the nursery and caused a fire
  • One child in 14 confirmed dead
  • The Minister of the Interior and two senior officials killed

BROVARY, Ukraine, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Fourteen people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and a child, were killed on Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in fog near a childcare center outside Kyiv, in what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called a “terrible tragedy”.

Several bodies lay on the floor of a yard, their boots sticking out from under blankets, after the helicopter – described by the air force spokesman as a French Super Puma – slammed into a building in Brovary, northeast of the capital.

The accident caused a large fire and an entire side of the local nursery building was charred. The governor of the Kyiv region said the children and staff were in the nursery at the time of the accident shortly after 08:00 (06:00 GMT).

Officials said it was too early to know what caused the accident. None spoke of an attack by Russian forces waging war in Ukraine.

“We saw injured people, we saw children. There was a lot of fog here, everything was scattered around. We heard screams, we ran towards them,” said Hlib, a 17-year-old resident of the neighborhood.

“We took the children and put them over the fence away from the nursery because it was on fire, especially on the second floor,” he said near the nursery, where people left flowers and stuffed animals at a small makeshift memorial.

The National Police Chief confirmed that Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi was killed along with his first deputy, Yevheniy Yenin, and the ministry’s state secretary. Monastyrskyi was 42 and had served as interior minister since July 2021.

Hours after the accident, the government appointed national police chief Ihor Klymenko as acting interior minister.

The state emergency service reported 14 dead, including the three crew members of the helicopter and six others on board. One child was killed on the ground and 11 other children were among the 25 injured, he added. The agency previously reported a higher toll, which it revised down without explanation.

Vitaliy, a 56-year-old resident, said he saw the helicopter drop rapidly and crash into the nursery grounds in the center of a residential yard. The debris continued on its way to a nearby apartment building, he said.

The helicopter wreckage later lay crumpled up near a building, the rotor blades resting against the entrance.

Above the charred entrance to the two-story nursery was a gaping hole several feet wide.

“There was no explosion. I thought it was a rocket engine or something, something very big, about 10 meters high,” Vitaliy said. .

Describing a large fire that then broke out, he said: ‘It even got hot in the room I was in,’ he said. “Of course it was scary.”


“Today a terrible tragedy happened in Brovary, Kyiv region,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app. “The pain is indescribable.”

The SBU State Security Service said it was investigating and looking into several possible causes of the crash, including a violation of flight rules, a technical malfunction and the intentional destruction of the helicopter.

Two witnesses described seeing an object hurtling towards the nursery from a northwesterly direction.

“It was about the height of the houses…the nine-story ones. It was very low, and I saw red colors on it,” one woman said.

The crash was another blow to Ukraine, days after 45 people were killed in a building hit in a Russian missile attack on the central-eastern city of Dnipro.

Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said the investigation into the disaster could take at least several weeks.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman called Monastyrskyi “a beacon in support of the Ukrainian people” during the Russian invasion and said she was struck by his determination, optimism and patriotism.

Reporting by Max Hunder in Brovary and Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; Additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Edited by Timothy Heritage

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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