On Wednesday, a helicopter carrying 9 people, 3 of whom were top Ukrainian government officials, crashed in the city of Brovery near Kyiv in what is the worst aerial disaster since the start of the war. In total, 16 people died, including Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, First Deputy Minister Yevheniy Yenin, and State Secretary Yuriy Lubkoychis.
All six of the passengers aboard the helicopter were ministry officials. Three crew members were also aboard – there were no survivors. Seven people were also killed on the ground by the fiery wreckage when the helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a neighborhood. Among those killed were 3 children and 4 bystanders. An additional 30 people were wounded.
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According to international correspondents on the ground, there was decreased visibility and gray skies at the time of the crash, which could help explain why the Eurocopter EC225 “Super Puma” helicopter went down.
Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, wrote on Telegram, “At the time of the tragedy, there were children and the staff in the kindergarten. At the moment, everyone was evacuated.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered an official investigation “to find out all the circumstances” of the crash, which he called “a terrible tragedy.”
Multiple international outlets are reporting that at this time there is not evidence to suggest that the crash was anything other than a tragic accident.
The BBC has reported that the SBU state security service has confirmed that it is following several leads into the cause of the crash, including possible sabotage as well as the breach of flight rules or a possible technical malfunction.
The Interior Minister who perished in the accident was one of Zelensky’s oldest political advisors and is the highest-profile Ukrainian casualty since the Russian invasion and the start of the war.
According to the Deputy Head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the minister had been traveling to a war “hot spot” when the helicopter crashed.
It is not uncommon for transport helicopters, such as the one that crashed, to take significant risks to avoid being targeted or struck down by Russian forces. It is common for such aircraft to fly at tree-level. To complicate navigation, there is very little light from buildings or street lights due to widespread power outages caused by persistent Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
More details of the crash are expected to emerge in the coming days as the investigation into the accident continues.
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