At least 18 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister, other senior officials, and at least 4 children, were killed on Wednesday, January 18th, in a helicopter crash that occurred in Brovary, a town in the country’s Kyiv oblast, the BBC reports.
“This morning, January 18, a helicopter of the State Emergency Service crashed in Brovary. As a result of the plane crash, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs died: the minister, the first deputy minister, and the state secretary,” Ihor Klymenko, who heads the National Police of Ukraine, wrote in a statement on Telegram.
According to the Klymenko, nine people were on board the helicopter when it crashed.
While Klymenko confirmed that another 22 victims were being treated at the hospital, Oleksiy Kuleba, who heads Kyiv’s regional military administration, said the crash had left 29 injured, including 15 children.
Oleksiy Kuleba, the Governor of the Kyiv oblast, said that the helicopter crashed close to a nursery and residential building.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, aged 42, also a father of two children, was responsible for the police and internal security of Ukraine. Denys Monastyrskyi is the most senior Ukrainian official to die since the war began nearly one year ago.
At the moment, the cause of the crash is unknown. Some have speculated that poor visibility due to darkness and foggy conditions could have contributed to the helicopter hitting the nursery before it went on to crash close to a residential building.
“Whether it was sabotage, a malfunction of equipment, a violation of flight safety rules, we will soon find out,” Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the ministry of the interior, told the Ukrainian press.
Also commenting on the incident, Yury Ignat, the spokesman for the Air Force Command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said it was “too early” to discuss what caused the helicopter to crash.
“The commission will investigate the reasons,” Ignat said. “It won’t be 1-2 days because plane crash research takes a certain amount of time. A state commission will be created, including various aviation specialists.”