This is what we know about the helicopter crash in Ukraine
(CNN Spanish) — Top leaders of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, including Minister Denis Mopnastyrsky, died on Wednesday after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the Kyiv region in circumstances that are still unclear.
The aircraft went down near a kindergarten, bringing the death toll to 14, including four children, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the country’s presidential administration.
It is the first time that high-ranking Ukrainian government officials have been killed under strange circumstances since the start of the war, following the invasion of Russia on February 24, 2022.
This is what we know about the helicopter crash.
what happened and where
A Eurocopter EC225 “Super Puma” helicopter, as confirmed by a CNN producer after seeing remains of flight manuals in the rubble, crashed at 8:20 a.m. local time (1:20 a.m. ET) near a kindergarten and a residential building in the city of Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine
A CNN crew on the ground in the Kyiv region noted gray skies and very poor visibility.
Nine people were traveling in the helicopter, including Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, First Deputy Minister Yevheniy Yenin, and Secretary of State Yuriy Lubkovychis, as confirmed by Anton Geraschenko, a ministry adviser, on social media.
Serhiy Kruk, head of the State Emergency Service, named some of the crew members as Oleksandr Vasylenko, Kostiantyn Kovalenko, Ivan Kasyanov.
The officials were traveling to Kharkiv, in the northeast, when the helicopter went down.
how many victims are there
All the people who were traveling in the helicopter died, according to the authorities.
Several people died at the place where the helicopter fell, including 4 children. The latest number of deaths is from 14, after the authorities corrected the figure downwards on a couple of occasions. People died while “bringing their children to kindergarten,” Tymoshenko said.
The death toll could rise, however.
Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, speaking with Tymoshenko at the scene, told reporters that “currently there is no information about the number of missing children. Identification is in progress. The parents are coming, lists are being compiled”.
There are also at least 30 injured, 25 of whom are in hospital (including 11 children).
Meanwhile, 127 people and 30 Emergency Services vehicles participate in the rescue efforts, according to a Telegram message from the Emergency Services.
What do we know about the circumstances of the fall?
It is not yet clear why the helicopter plunged to the ground, and no official has yet suggested possible war action by Russia.
The Kyiv region is not currently under direct siege by Russian forces, although the capital continues to come under sporadic shelling by cruise and ballistic missiles.
Meanwhile, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU, for its acronym in English) launched a preliminary investigation into the incident and said on Facebook that “several versions of the tragedy are being considered,” including “flight rule violations, wrong technical operation of the helicopter, deliberate actions to destroy the helicopter”.
The reaction of the leaders
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, said in a written statement that it was a “terrible tragedy” and ordered the Security Services of Ukraine to “find out all the circumstances.”
Zelensky called the officials “true patriots of Ukraine. May they rest in peace! May all those whose lives were taken this black morning rest in peace!”
Meanwhile, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, paid tribute to the late minister Monastyrsky and said that he was “a great friend of the European Union.” Michel tweeted that the EU joins Ukraine “in grief following the tragic helicopter crash in Brovary.”
With information from Maria Kostenko, Sophie Tanno and Brent Swails.