At least three senior members of the Ukrainian government have been killed in a helicopter crash that occurred on January 18, 2023, in Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian authorities, a total of 18 people have been killed due to the helicopter crash, including the three politicians and three children. The Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs was among the dead.
The helicopter reportedly crashed into a kindergarten in Brovary, a suburb of Kyiv. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
Helicopter crash in Ukraine
According to Oleksiy Kuleba, head of Kyiv’s regional military administration, the helicopter crashed over a Kindergarten in Brovary, killing 18 people and injuring at least 29 more. At least 15 injured persons required hospital treatment.
A fire broke out after the crash, forcing teachers and children at the kindergarten to flee to safety. National police chief Ihor Klymenko posted on Facebook that the downed helicopter belonged to Ukraine’s state emergency service.
The helicopter was transporting high-ranking Ukrainian officials at the time of the crash. The death of three prominent members of the government will come as a major blow to Ukraine as it continues to battle against the Russian invasion.
“Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi, his 1st deputy Yevhen Yenin and Ministry’s state secretary Yurii Lubkovych died today in Kyiv region,” said Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
“My colleagues, my friends. What a tragic loss. Deepest condolences to their families,” Gerashchenko continued.
The exact cause of the crash has not yet been determined. Most mainstream media outlets have speculated that the crash was an accident.
The helicopter appears to have been flying in lowlight conditions at the time it went down. Foggy weather and darkness may have impaired the vision of the pilots.
James Waterhouse, a Ukraine correspondent for the BBC, speculated on Twitter that the aircraft may have been flying at a low altitude at the time of the crash.
Since the war began in February last year, Ukrainian helicopters have been flying at low altitudes to avoid detection by Russian radars. However, this poses other risks. Although low-flying helicopters stand a better chance of avoiding detection and are thus less likely to be shot down, the risk of collision with objects on the ground is greatly heightened.
Devastating news for Ukraine. Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy is one of 17 people killed in a helicopter crash in Brovary, east of Kyiv.
We’d often see him arrive at missile strikes across the country by helicopter. They have to fly at low altitude. Cause not yet clear. pic.twitter.com/fsbo0VDRJJ
— James Waterhouse (@JamWaterhouse) January 18, 2023
Politicians and prominent figures in Ukraine have been expressing their condolences for the victims of the helicopter crash since the news broke out today.
“It is impossible to believe. 17 dead, including 2 children. The Minister of Internal Affairs, the First Deputy Minister and the Secretary of State died. My deepest condolences,” said Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian member of parliament and leader of the political party Golos.
#Brovary. It is impossible to believe. 17 dead, including 2 children. The Minister of Internal Affairs, the First Deputy Minister and the Secretary of State died. My deepest condolences😞
📹 Brovary's auditor pic.twitter.com/djAU1v3ya6
— Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) January 18, 2023
Anton Gerashchenko, who worked closely with the three Ukrainian officials killed in the crash tweeted “We will always remember you. Your families will be cared for. Eternal memory to my friends.”
My friends, statesmen Denys Monastyrskyi, Yevhen Yenin, Yurii Lubkovych, everyone who was on board of that helicopter, were patriots who worked to make Ukraine stronger.
We will always remember you. Your families will be cared for.
Eternal memory to my friends. pic.twitter.com/SdHfujCUAI
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 18, 2023
The helicopter crash is being met by Ukrainians as more bad news following a Russian missile strike that hit an apartment building at Dnipro, just last week. At least 35 civilians were killed when a whole section of the nine-story block collapsed.
As the war continues, casualties continue to mount on both sides. There are significant concerns that Ukrainian civilians, particularly children like those killed in the recent helicopter crash, are being caught in the crossfire or deliberately targeted.