Current situation in Ukraine: Ukrainian Interior Minister dead

A helicopter crashed into a kindergarten near Kyiv on Wednesday. 14 people die, including a child. 30 others are injured.

Remains of a helicopter crash lie in front of a residential building

Pictures of the destruction: There were nine people in the helicopter, including three high-ranking politicians Photo: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/reuters

KYJIW taz/afp | At around 8 a.m., 66-year-old Elyzaveta was in her kitchen preparing breakfast for her husband. “At one point I saw a bright flash. It felt like a fireball was entering my kitchen,” recalls the pensioner, who is standing in front of the entrance to her house. There is a kindergarten fifty meters away.

A helicopter belonging to the Ukrainian rescue service crashed on the roof there on Wednesday, killing 14 people. Elyzaveta and her husband could not hear the explosion, only the sound of the engine. When they looked out the window, the roof of the kindergarten was already on fire.

Nine people were on board the crashed Ukrainian rescue helicopter. In addition to the three crew members, among them were Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyj, his first deputy Yevheniy Jenin, State Secretary Yuriy Lubkovych and three other ministry employees. According to the presidential office, the helicopter was on its way to the front.

According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter made several circles and caught fire before crashing onto the roof of the kindergarten. This is in one of the residential areas of Brovary, 20 kilometers from Kyiv away. The rotor of the helicopter broke off the body and flew several tens of meters. There he landed near the entrance to a multi-storey residential building next to the kindergarten. The impact killed several people who were on their way to work.

A total of 14 people died in the crash, including a child. Another 30 people were injured and are in hospital. Among them are 12 children. The fate of another child has not yet been clarified, according to the rescue service. A search operation at the scene of the accident is therefore ongoing. The rescue workers are in the process of removing the ceilings between the first and second floors of the kindergarten and the roof.

“It wasn’t immediately clear what had happened. We noticed that something had fallen, but it didn’t look like a rocket attack,” Elyzaveta reports of the incident. After the crash, she rushed to the scene of the accident with her husband and other residents to save the children. “People carried the children in their arms,” ​​says Elyzaveta, wiping the tears from her eyes.

investigations initiated

President Zelensky instructed the authorities to investigate the circumstances of the crash. Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal is to set up a special group to investigate the crash. The Prosecutor General’s Office and the secret service SBU have already launched an investigation into the crash. The police authorities are currently assuming three possible causes of the accident: violation of flight rules, technical malfunction of the helicopter or intentional destruction of the helicopter.

The French Super Puma helicopter in which the minister was traveling was bought by his ministry in 2018. A total of around 20 such helicopters are in use in various departments of the Ministry of the Interior. Experts from various authorities have already started working on site. The investigation may take a few days.

The killed 42-year-old Monastyrskyj was appointed interior minister in 2021. The trained lawyer was a member of President Selensky’s Servant of the People party in the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. Monastyrskyj was considered an important figure in the Ukrainian government. Prime Minister Schmyhal spoke of a “heavy loss for the government cabinet and the entire state”. Shmyhal appointed Ihor Klymenko, the head of the National Police of Ukraine, as interim Minister of the Interior.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser offered Ukraine support in clarifying the causes of the crash. She made a corresponding offer to the Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev in a telephone call, she said. Chancellor Scholz also commented on the accident. On Twitter he spoke of a “sad day” for Ukraine, which once again shows “the immense toll that Ukraine is paying in this war”.

Anastasia Magazova was born in Crimea in 1989 and has been an author for the taz since 2013. She has been working as a correspondent for Deutsche Welle since 2015. She is particularly interested in politics in Eastern Europe and German-Ukrainian relations

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