Estonian leaders express condolences over deadly Ukraine helicopter crash

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Several high-ranking Ukrainian officials were killed in the helicopter crash in Brovary on Wednesday morning. January 18, 2022.
Several high-ranking Ukrainian officials were killed in the helicopter crash in Brovary on Wednesday morning. January 18, 2022. Source: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA/Scanpix

Estonia's prime minister, president and several ministers were among those to express condolences on Wednesday following a deadly helicopter crash in the eastern Kyiv suburb of Brovary in which 14 people were killed, including Ukraine's minister of internal affairs.

A total of 14 people were killed and another 25 injured when a Super Puma helicopter carrying Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky and his team crashed by a kindergarten in Brovary on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported.

The victims included Monastyrsky, Deputy Minister Yevhen Yenin and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych, as well as one child, according to the latest information.

Among those injured were 11 children as well, according to the most recent confirmed figures (link in Ukrainian) published by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU).

Senior officials in Ukraine have routinely traveled by helicopter during Russia's ongoing war there, the AP noted.

'A personality I will remember forever'

Estonia's Ministry of the Interior confirmed to ERR News on Wednesday afternoon that Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) had already been in touch directly with Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Meri Akopyan to personally express his condolences.

Läänemets had met with both Monastyrsky and Akopyan in Kyiv in just a few weeks prior.

"An ambitious young person with a fighting spirit and sense of justice and whose vision and plans were awe-inspiring," Läänemets wrote about Monastyrsky in a post on Facebook, sharing a photo from December of the two shaking hands and grinning upon meeting.

"Without a doubt very much the right and an essential state leader — especially in a country at war," he continued. "A personality and a discussion that I will remember forever."

In his formal condolence letter to Akopyan, Läänemets shared the same recollections about his meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart.

"Accidents with many casualties are always terrible and hard to bear," the Estonian minister wrote. "Words cannot express the sorrow we feel at your suffering. Please know that Estonia holds Ukraine constantly in our thoughts and we are available to help in any way possible."

'Russia's war has already caused suffering'

In an official statement released early Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) described the helicopter crash as a tragedy, and noted that casualties included children.

"The causes of the crash are being investigated, but we know that Russia's war against Ukraine has already claimed many lives and caused suffering for a great number of people," Estonia's foreign minister said.

"I am extending my deepest condolences to the people of Ukraine and the families of the victims, and wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured," he continued. "It is the duty of Estonia and the international community to offer every support to Ukraine until it has won the war, and make sure that no crime committed in Ukraine goes unpunished."

The ministry confirmed to ERR News that Reinsalu had already been directly in touch with his Ukrainian colleague, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, on Wednesday as well.

Several high-ranking Ukrainian officials were killed in the helicopter crash in Brovary on Wednesday morning. January 18, 2022. Source: Reuters/Scanpix

After hearing the news about the crash, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) also took to Twitter to express condolences to her counterpart, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the victims' families and the Ukrainian people.

"Estonia mourns with you," Kallas wrote. "Yet another tragic reminder of the incredibly heavy price Ukraine is paying during its freedom fight against Russia."

President Alar Karis likewise expressed condolences on Twitter, writing that he was saddened by the terrible accident that led to losses including Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrsky and his colleagues, "who have been so critical to Ukrainian efforts to defend their country."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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