A helicopter carrying Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and several members of his cabinet crashed on Wednesday morning January 18 next to a kindergarten in the town of Brovary, northeast of kyiv. A major fire immediately broke out in the building. At least 14 people, including a child, perished in the disaster. The nine occupants of the helicopter, including the First Deputy Minister, Yevgeny Yenin, and State Secretary Yuri Lubkovich, were killed. Twenty-five people, including 11 children, were also injured.
The causes of the accident are still unclear. The helicopter, a French-designed Super Puma, crashed on a foggy morning in a region far from combat zones, and more than 90 km from Belarusian territory, where the closest military forces are deployed. No anti-aircraft alert had sounded before the crash.
Ukrainian authorities have opened an investigation. The Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) are examining three main leads: a violation of flight rules (pilot error), a technical malfunction or sabotage. According to preliminary data, the cause of the accident could be fog. The pilot did not see a tall building in time and tried to avoid it by suddenly gaining altitude, which led to a loss of control of the aircraft. Yuri Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian army air force command, warned that the investigation would take time.
Footage filmed by witnesses suggests that the helicopter fell apart as it crashed: one of the fragments fell on the kindergarten, and most of the machine collapsed on the plot of a house. Videos show flames igniting a vast space between two blocks of buildings, in the middle of which is the school. Screams emerge from the rubble. These images are reminiscent of those of the Russian strike on Dnipro three days earlier, which destroyed an entire building and caused the death of 45 people, including six children.
“Honest”, “human” and “patriotic”
Senior Ukrainian officials regularly travel by helicopter during the conflict, often at low altitude and at high speed. The aircraft was heading towards a ” hotspot “ where the fighting continues, according to the deputy head of the president’s office, Kyril Tymoshenko. According to the independent Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravdahe was to go to Kharkiv, in the east of the country.
You have 49.98% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.