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Kyiv helicopter crash kills 18, top Ukraine officials dead

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb Wednesday killed 18 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and three children, Ukrainian authorities said.

There was no immediate word on whether the crash was an accident or a result of the war with Russia. No fighting has been reported recently in the Kyiv area.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy Yevhen Yenin and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych were among those killed, according to Ihor Klymenko, chief of Ukraine’s National Police.

Monastyrskyi, who was in charge of the Ukrainian police and other emergency services, is the most senior Ukrainian official to have died since the start of the war with Russia almost 11 months ago.

Nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter that crashed in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the Ukrainian capital, Klymenko said.

Kyiv Regional Governor Oleksii Kuleba said three children were also killed. Earlier, officials and media reports said the helicopter crashed near a kindergarten.

  • FILE – Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023 says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
  • First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska is pictured during a minute of silence at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for the victims of a helicopter crash in Ukraine, where Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky died among others on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
  • First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska reacts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland after the news of a helicopter crash in Ukraine, where Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky died among others on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
  • Dead bodies lay on the ground at the scene where a helicopter crashed on civil infrastructure in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • A dead body on the ground at the scene where a helicopter crashed on civil infrastructure in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • A view of the scene where a helicopter crashed on civil infrastructure in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • A view of the scene where a helicopter crashed on civil infrastructure in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
  • Workers pass the scene where a helicopter crashed on civil infrastructure in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine’s National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 16 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and two children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

A total of 29 people were injured, including 15 children, the regional governor said.

“For now, we are considering all possible versions of the helicopter crash accident,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, said on Telegram.

The investigation is being carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine, he said.

Ukraine first lady, Olena Zelenska, daubed teary eyes and pinched her nose in emotion minutes before attending a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland.

“Another very sad day today — new losses,” she said.

Forum President Borge Brende requested 15 seconds of silence after opening the session to honor the Ukrainian officials killed in the crash.

The crash came just four days after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in southeastern Ukraine killed 45 civilians, including six children — the deadliest attack on civilians since the spring.

“Haven’t had time to recover from one tragedy, there is already another one,” said the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

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