At least 18 people were killed, including Ukraine’s interior minister and three children, after a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten outside Kyiv on Wednesday morning.
The cause of the crash, which comes as the country’s war with Russia approaches the 11-month mark, was not immediately clear.
At least 9 of those killed had been onboard the emergency services helicopter when it crashed in Brovary, a suburb about 15 miles northeast of the capital, national police head Ihor Klymenko said in a statement.
The dead included Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrsky, his deputy, Yevhen Yenin, and the state secretary, Yurii Lubkovych, Klymenko said.
At least 29 people, including 15 children, were being treated in hospitals, Oleksii Kuleba, the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration said. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
Kuleba said the helicopter fell near a kindergarten and a residential building.
“At the time of the tragedy, children and employees of the institution were in the kindergarten. At this point, everyone was evacuated,” Kuleba said.
Ukrainian officials paid tribute to their colleagues.
“My colleagues, my friends. What a tragic loss,” interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko wrote in a tweet. “Deepest condolences to their families.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Artem Grudinin, Daryna Mayer and Mahalia Dobson contributed.