At least 18 people were killed in a helicopter crash east of Kyiv on Wednesday morning.
Samuel Schumacherforeign reporter
It takes a lot to upset Volodymyr Zelensky (44). The helicopter crash on Wednesday morning east of Kyiv, in which the Ukrainian interior minister and his deputy died, among others, almost made it. Selenski was visibly emotional, his eyes sparkling, when he addressed the WEF participants in Davos in a video address in the late afternoon. The crash was “a tragedy,” said Selenski. Especially since three children were among the 18 victims of the helicopter crash. The state rescue service’s Airbus H225 crashed to the ground right next to a kindergarten.
Selenski opened his speech with a minute’s silence. His country has already held “thousands of such minutes,” said Selenski, and urged the political leaders and economic decision-makers in Davos to “more determination and more speed” in the fight against the Russian attackers.
This fight was severely weakened by the helicopter crash. The late Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi († 42) was not only an important advisor to President Zelenskiy, but also commanded tens of thousands of national guards and border guards. With the deaths of both Monastyrskyi’s deputy and the first secretary of state, Ukrainians have lost all leadership of a central ministry.
Security expert: Ukraine made a big mistake
“This is a serious blow to Zelenski in the midst of this war that cannot be underestimated,” said US security expert Matthew Schmidt of the University of New Haven in a statement. Ukraine must draw conclusions from this. “There should never be so many important decision-makers boarding a helicopter or plane together,” emphasizes Schmidt.
The tragedy also hit the Ukrainian First Lady Olena Selenska (44), who is currently in Davos at the WEF. “It’s a personal blow for me. I knew the minister very well, »said Selenska with tears in her eyes. «From the outside it might look like we’ve gotten used to all this. But unfortunately we don’t have that.” The fact that several children lost their lives in the tragedy makes everything even more unbearable. “I don’t think I can find the words to talk about it.”
The cause of the crash can only be speculated about at the moment, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko (51) told Blick yesterday afternoon. The only thing that is clear is that the helicopter was on its way to the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, where government representatives wanted to see the damage caused by the latest Russian rocket attacks.
Selenski does not want to speak of an accident
Ultimately, the cause does not play a role, emphasized Volodymyr Zelensky in his video speech. The matter is clear: “In war there are no accidents. Everything that happens to us happens because of the war. There are not only deaths on the battlefield.”
According to UN projections, at least 6,755 civilians have been killed since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24 last year. At least 10,607 civilians were injured, some seriously. At least 44 innocent people were killed in the most recent Russian rocket attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro last week alone.