Nine people — six officials from the Interior Ministry and three crew members — were aboard the helicopter, which was operated by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. The helicopter, an EC-225 Super Puma, is designed for long-range passenger flights.
Videos posted to social media show a two-story building engulfed in flames at the crash site in Brovary, a small city adjacent to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
Despite Russia’s ongoing invasion and ceaseless missile attacks on Ukraine, there were no initial signs of foul play. An air force spokesman, Yuriy Ignat, said the cause of the crash would be investigated. But early signs pointed to a tragic accident in a country at war where civilian casualties due to Russian military attacks occur every day. There was heavy fog in Kyiv on Wednesday morning, which could have affected flight conditions.
In a statement, the State Emergency Service said the helicopter “was repeatedly involved in the performance of tasks for the transportation of personnel to the places of emergency situations.”
“The ship’s crew was prepared to perform tasks under difficult conditions,” the Emergency Service said, and “had the required number of hours of flight.”
Though Ukrainian airspace is closed to commercial and private aircraft, Monastyrsky was traveling to a “hot spot” on the front line, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office. With Monastyrsky in the emergency services helicopter was his first deputy minister, Yevgeny Yenin, and state secretary Yuriy Lubkovich, who also died in the crash, Ukrainian officials said.
Helicopters are seen regularly flying around the Kyiv region — and are strictly grounded only when an air raid alert for possible missile strikes is activated.
In a statement, President Volodymyr Zelensky called the crash a “terrible tragedy” and described the officials killed as “true patriots.”
Monastyrsky, a member of Zelensky’s cabinet since 2021, oversaw law enforcement bodies that have taken on an outsize role since the start of Russia’s invasion last February. These include the national guard, which has units fighting on the front lines, including the Azov Regiment, which led the defense of Mariupol for months, as well as the national police, which is investigating Russian war crimes.
“A commission will investigate the reasons,” Ignat said on Ukrainian television. “It won’t be one or two days, because plane crash investigations take time. I think that a state commission will be created, which will include various aviation specialists. They will investigate the reasons for what happened and what factors influenced the fact that the helicopter crashed.”
Serhiy Morgunov in Brovary, Ukraine, and Kostiantyn Khudov in Kyiv contributed to this report.
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