Top Ukrainian official, children killed when helicopter crashes near kindergarten in Kyiv

Ukraine’s interior minister was among at least 15 people killed when the helicopter he ­was riding in crashed near a kindergarten in Kyiv on Wednesday, The Associated Press is reporting.

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Denys Monastyrskyi, 42, who oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency services, along with nine others on the h­elicopter were killed when it crashed. The other victims were apparently on the ground when the chopper went down.

Among those killed were at least three children at the kindergarten, Reuters is reporting. The regional governor said 29 other people were injured, including 15 children.

It is unclear whether the crash was an accident or if it was related to the ongoing war with Russia. According to the AP, there was no fighting reported in the Kyiv area.

A witness to the crash told Suspilne, Ukraine’s national public broadcaster, that she had seen the helicopter on fire and spinning in a circle before it hit the ground, The New York Times reported.

Monastyrskyi, the most senior Ukrainian official to die since the war began last year, was appointed to his position in 2021.

The French-made Super Puma helicopter crashed in a residential area in the suburb of Brovary, according to the Times. Brovary is on the eastern outskirts of the Ukrainian capital.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the crash was “a terrible tragedy” on a “black morning.”

Monastyrskyi’s deputy, Yevhen Yenin, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych were also killed in the crash according to the chief of Ukraine’s National Police.

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