At least 14 people have been killed, including three children, after a government helicopter crash-landed near a kindergarten in the Kyiv suburb of Brovary on Wednesday morning.
The helicopter is believed to have been transporting the Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and his political team, all of whom have died.
“As a result of the crash in Brovary, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine was killed. They were in the helicopter of the State Emergency Service,” said police chief Ihor Klymenko.
Oleksii Kuleba, Kyiv regional governor, revealed that dozens were injured in the aftermath of the crash. At least 29 other people have been injured, including 15 children, many of whom have been hospitalized.
The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said the helicopter had been traveling to a war “hot spot” at the time of the crash.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined. According to Ukrainian President Zelensky’s former spokesperson, Iuliia Mendel, an investigation into the crash is considering possible equipment malfunction or human error by the pilot; however, sabotage is not being ruled out.
Footage circulating on social media shows the chaotic scenes at the crash site with an inferno raging at a nearby building believed to be a nursery.
Advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, Anton Gerashchenko, confirmed the department’s minister, deputy minister, and state secretary were all killed in the crash.
Commenting on the news, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas described it as “yet another tragic reminder of the incredibly heavy price Ukraine is paying during its freedom fight against Russia.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda tweeted: “It is with deep sadness that I received information about the helicopter crash in Brovary near Kyiv which left several persons killed, including senior officials of Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.”
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said he is “deeply saddened at the lives cut short by the tragic helicopter crash near a kindergarten in Brovary” and offered his thoughts and sympathies to the victims’ families and the people of Ukraine.
“Georgia grieves with you,” added Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili.