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Updated: Nov 16, 2023

By Kean Huy Alado

From ground zero in Ukraine, a helicopter carrying multiple high priority Ukrainian officials crashed in a city near Kyiv last month. Possible causes for the crash were sabotage, breach of flight rules, or technical malfunction, according to SBU State Security. The State Emergency Service also stepped in to pronounce fourteen total deaths from the crash.

Photo Credit to Wikipedia

In the early morning of Jan. 18, the suburban city’s weather was terribly foggy, and witnesses claimed the electricity was unavailable which reduced the visibility of close-proximity buildings. The helicopter was supposedly sent to visit Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of police in Kharkiv, located in northeastern Kyiv. The helicopter crashed over a kindergarten, charring the land and leaving the building in ruins. A fire sprouted from the disaster, alerting onlookers of a danger close to home. At the site of impact, crushed trees and a quaked earth spoke of a lethal story.

Among the unfortunate victims were five members of Ukraine’s interior ministry, including: Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, First Deputy Yevhen Yenin, and State Secretary Yurii Lubkovych. The staff is in charge of internal affairs such as emergency management, public security, and civil registration/identification.

One national police official as well as all three helicopter crew members were also found dead. After revisions of collateral casualties, five civilians were killed in the crash, one of them being a child.

Twenty-five other civilians were injured in the crash, eleven of them being children.

Evgeny Yudin, an international freshman student from Russia and Barry Stamps scholar, reacted solemnly to the news.

“As I watch our fraternal people suffer, it is deeply painful for me,” he said.

Witnesses were quick to point fingers at Russia, but Ukrainian analysis provided no indication of Russia’s direct involvement or signs of foul play.

The helicopter used for this trip was a French Super Puma obtained in 2019, according to an anonymous French defense official. Additionally, senior Ukrainian officials, like Monastyrsky, often fly in helicopters at low altitudes and high speeds when traveling for meetings. The incident may prompt Ukraine to establish a rule to avoid another misfortune of their habits.

A vigil was held for the victims and those affected by the tragedy near the kindergarten. The chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, solemnly tweeted, “A loss for the family and Ukraine,” in a display of grief from the Ukrainian government. Volodymyr Tymoshko, the addressee of the helicopter, turned to Facebook to also voice his grief, calling the victims his friends whom he respected, as well as Ukraine’s leaders. With the war continuing to terrorize the country, this setback could prove to be catastrophic in indirectly leading to more damages within Ukraine.

Last year, Russia began to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24 to develop control over the Western front as an assurance of defense from Europe and for access to a water body, primarily the Black Sea, for trade. They began the war from multiple fronts such as the Crimean peninsula south of Ukraine, which Russia annexed in 2014, and began fighting northward late last year. Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the actions of annexing Crimea and leaving military personnel on the peninsula, claiming Russian troops in the area were helping to stop a war active since 2014 in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and separatists whom were supported by Russia.

Photo Credit to Pexels

Fast forward to the present and the Russian-Ukraine war is still raging a year later. Although most of the world appears to have forgotten it like a waking dream, the situation festers as an infection in Eastern Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded in a speech where he stated, “there are no accidents at war time. These are all war results absolutely,” suggesting the visit to Tymoshko was prompted by an aspect of the war.

The late Interior Minister was known to have served under President Zelensky for a long time, but the President was forced to react by appointing Ihor Klymenko the head of Ukraine’s national police force and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as the acting-Interior Minister following the vacancy.

U.S. President Joe Biden was also quick to respond, delivering his own condolences to Ukraine for their recent loss. British Home Secretary Suella Braverman also commented that the former Interior Minister was a leading light in Ukraine during Russia’s invasion.

Photo Credit to Pexels

Ukraine decided to appeal more to the West for tanks in anticipation of a sudden Russian advancement.

“Almost 12 months have passed since the armed invasion of Ukraine began,” said Yudin. “Peace, love, prosperity, and the end of this horror in Ukraine are all things I stand for.”

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