(VitalNews.org) – On January 18, Ukra News reported that a helicopter carrying Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his First Deputy Yevhen Yenin, State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych, their assistants, and the flight crew crashed on a kindergarten building in the Kyiv region. The accident resulted in the deaths of Monastyrskyi and the minister’s crew. Reports of the exact number of deaths have been inconsistent, but one article posted on ABC13 on January 18 reported a death toll as high as 18. PBS wrote there was fog in the area, but no active battles, so it’s possible the war was not to blame. Nonetheless, Ukrainian authorities are investigating the matter. The country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the tragedy on Telegram, saying the pain was “unspeakable.”
The Interior Minister
Born in 1980, Monastyrskyi grew up with an interest in law. The Ukrainian studied at two universities in the country and earned his Ph.D. in the subject. By 2007, he had started working as a practicing attorney and an associate professor. More recently, he worked on Zelenskyy’s campaign team as a legal expert and was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs in the summer of 2021.
The Crash and Responses
Ukra News reported that the officials were headed to an active zone near the front lines. Huffpost stated an anonymous source within France’s defense department revealed the aircraft was a French-manufactured Super Puma, sold to Ukraine about four years ago.
Kyiv’s regional governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, said 25 people in all were injured as a result of the crash, including 11 children. Although the cause of the accident is still unknown, the Wall Street Journal reported that Zelenskyy ultimately blamed the crash on the war. While talking to CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria, the Ukrainian leader said there are “no accidents in wartime,” indicating Russia should shoulder the responsibility. He encouraged other world leaders during a virtual address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to assist him in quickly ending the war. The leader said the longer it takes, the more people will be killed.
Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska responded to the crash through tears, saying it was “another very sad day” while at the World Economic Forum. The sovereign country just suffered another big loss. The day prior to the helicopter crash, 45 people lost their lives after Russian troops struck an apartment building in Dnipro. Six of the victims were children.
Several other leaders relayed their condolences for Ukraine’s loss, including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who both indicated Zelenskyy’s country continues bear the consequences of Putin’s aggression. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden also released a statement, saying they are grieving right alongside “those who are [in] mourning” from the tragedy.
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