Helicopter Crash in Ukraine

01/18/2023
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    Workers pass the site where a helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

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A helicopter crashed Wednesday in a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. The crash took the lives of Ukraine’s interior minister and about a dozen other people. There was no immediate word on whether the crash was an accident or related to the war. But Ukrainian authorities are investigating.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi died in the crash. He oversaw the country’s police and emergency services. He is the most senior official killed since Russia invaded nearly 11 months ago. The deaths are the second major tragedy in four days to befall Ukraine. The first was a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro. The strike killed dozens of civilians.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman called Monastyrskyi “a leading light in supporting the Ukrainian people during [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion.” She says she was “struck by his determination, optimism, and patriotism.”

The helicopter crash occurred on a foggy morning in Kyiv’s eastern suburb of Brovary. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service says at least 14 people died and 25 people were injured.

During the war, senior Ukrainian officials have routinely traveled by helicopter at low altitudes and high speed. The tragedy may prompt a rule that top officials shouldn’t fly on the same aircraft.

The officials on the helicopter were headed to Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

The Security Service of Ukraine is investigating the crash. Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin says, “For now, we are considering all possible versions of the helicopter crash accident.”

“The pain is unspeakable,” says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He describes the crash as “a terrible tragedy” on a “black morning.”

“Another very sad day today—new losses,” says Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska. She responded to the news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The forum observed 15 seconds of silence to honor the Ukrainian officials killed.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted that the crash “shows once again the huge price that Ukraine is having to pay in this war.”

Putin defends his aggression. He says, “All what we are doing today as part of the special military operation is an attempt to stop this war. This is the meaning of our operation—protecting people who live on those territories.”

Ukraine and its Western allies reject Russia’s justifications. They say Kyiv posed no threat to Moscow and the invasion was unprovoked.

Meanwhile, fighting continues in eastern Ukraine. Russia shelled a total of 14 cities and villages in the Donetsk region in a 24 period, says Ukraine’s presidential office.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. — Romans 12:15

(Workers pass the site where a helicopter crashed on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. AP/Daniel Cole)