Ukraine First Lady wipes tears after children killed near nursery

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Ukraine: Footage appears to show helicopter flying near Brovary

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska had to wipe away tears today moments after she was told at least 18 people including children and a government minister died in a helicopter crash in her homeland this moring.

The wife of Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to compose herself just before appealing to world leaders at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Photographs showed a visibly moved Mrs Zelenska steeling herself before delivering her speech to ask for help against the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian government chopper came down next to a nursery full of children outside Kyiv, killing all nine people on-board and a further nine on the ground.

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.

Monastyrskyi, who was in charge of the Ukrainian police and other emergency services, 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 aboard the emergency services helicopter that crashed in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the Ukrainian capital, Klymenko said.

Kyiv Regional Governor Oleksii Kuleba said three children were also killed. Earlier, officials and media reports said the helicopter crashed near a kindergarten.

A total of 29 people were injured, including 15 children, the regional governor said.

“For now, we are considering all possible versions of the helicopter crash accident,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, said on Telegram.

The investigation is being carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine, he said.

Ukraine first lady, Olena Zelenska, daubed teary eyes and pinched her nose in emotion minutes before attending a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland.

“Another very sad day today — new losses,” she said.

Forum President Borge Brende requested 15 seconds of silence after opening the session to honor the Ukrainian officials killed in the crash.

The crash came just four days after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in southeastern 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.

The world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad “interlinked” challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine that are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash,” the U.N. chief Antonio Guterres told the World Economic Forum’s meeting Wednesday.

In the UK the government said Ukraine lost a “leading light” in its resistance against Vladimir Putin’s invasion with the death of interior minister Denys Monastyrsky in the helicopter crash.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said his death was “truly heart-breaking” after the crash in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday which authorities said killed 18, including three children.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Mr Monastyrsky was “a true friend of the UK”.

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