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Ukraine’s interior minister dies in helicopter crash

Denys Monastyrsky, Ukraine’s interior minister was amongst 17 people killed in a helicopter crash in the outskirts of Kyiv this morning. He was heading out of the city with colleagues when his helicopter crashed near a nursery in Brovary. Four children, who were on the ground, are also reported to be amongst the dead with 11 others being treated in hospital. So far 25 people have been reported injured.

Monastyrsky, 42, was travelling with Yevhen Yenin, his first deputy, and Yuriy Lubkovich, State Secretary and six others. All are reported dead. They were in a Super Puma helicopter belonging to the State Emergency Service. Monastyrsky’s team were flying to visit one of the war’s hot spots, according to an official spokesman, and their first destination would have been the city of Kharkiv. Denys Monastyrsky is the most senior Ukraine official who has died since last year’s invasion.

The nursery’s doors opened at seven and the helicopter crashed at about 8.15 a.m. when some children were having breakfast. One of the eyewitnesses said ‘the helicopter made three circles above the supermarket, flew towards the centre but then began to descend sharply, crashed and caught fire’. Another said that the helicopter ‘hit the roof of the nursery and then crashed’. 

There are no reports of drone attacks or other enemy activity but the situation remains unclear: the Ukrainian Air Force says the investigation should take several weeks. Weather may have been a factor: Brovary was covered in the fog this morning. The Ukrainian secret service says it is investigating several hypotheses: ‘violation of flight rules, technical malfunction of the helicopter and deliberate actions to destroy the helicopter’.

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