Ukrainian officials said 18 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and other senior ministry officials, and three children were killed Wednesday morning when a helicopter crashed near a daycare center outside Kyiv.
The district governor said 29 people were also injured, including 15 children, when the helicopter crashed in a residential area of Brovary on the northeastern outskirts of the capital.
Many of the bodies were deposited, wrapped in foil blankets, in a yard near the damaged school. Rescuers were on site. Debris was strewn across the playing field.
National Police chief Ihor Klimenko said Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky was killed along with his first deputy Yevgeny Yenin and other officials in an emergency service helicopter.
And the governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksey Kuleba, wrote on Telegram: “There were children and … employees of the nursery at the time of this tragedy. »
Officials did not provide an immediate explanation for the cause of the helicopter crash. There was no immediate comment from Russia, whose forces invaded Ukraine last February, and Ukrainian officials made no mention of any Russian offensive in the region at the time.
Monastyrsky, Ukraine’s chief of police and security, would be the highest ranking Ukrainian official to die since the start of the war.
President of the European Union Commission:
Tragedies strike the heart of war-torn Ukraine.
We grieve with you.
Fighting continues in Bakhmut
Separately, Ukraine reported heavy fighting overnight in the country’s east, with both sides suffering heavy losses for little gain in intense trench warfare over the past two months.
The Ukrainian military said that Ukrainian forces repelled attacks in the eastern town of Bakhmut and the southern village of Klishchevka. Russia has focused on Bakhmut in recent weeks, claiming last week that it had captured the mining town of Solidar on its northern outskirts.
After Ukraine’s significant gains in the second half of 2022, the front lines have tightened over the past two months. Kyiv says he hopes the new Western weapons will allow him to resume his offensive to retake territory, especially the heavy tanks that would give his forces the mobility and protection needed to advance through Russian lines.
Western allies are due to meet on Friday at a US air base in Germany to provide more weapons to Ukraine. Particular focus is on Germany, which has veto power over any decision to field its Leopard tanks, which are deployed by armies across Europe and widely considered the best fit for Ukraine.
hour | A closer look at Russia’s Wagner Group fighting in Ukraine:
Berlin says the tank decision will be the first item on the agenda for its new defense minister, Boris Pistorius.
Britain, which sent its main battle tanks over the weekend promising a squadron of rivals, called on Germany to accept the Panthers. Poland and Finland have already announced their willingness to send the Panthers if Berlin allows it.