A helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday killed 18 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister and three children, Ukrainian authorities said.
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.
Mr Monastyrskyi 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 on board the emergency services helicopter that crashed in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the capital, Mr Klymenko said.
Kyiv Regional Governor Oleksii Kuleba said three children were also killed.
Earlier, officials and media reports said the helicopter crashed near a nursery school.
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.
A total of 29 people were injured, including 15 children, the regional governor said.
Ukraine first lady Olena Zelenska was seen dabbing her eyes and pinching her nose in emotion minutes before attending the World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland.
“Another very sad day today – new losses,” she said.
Forum President Borge Brende requested a few moments of silence after opening the session to honour the Ukrainian officials killed in the crash.
The crash came just four days after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in south-eastern 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.
Press Association – Associated Press Reporters