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UK tribute to ‘leading light’ of Ukrainian resistance after helicopter deaths

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said interior minister Denys Monastyrsky’s death was ‘truly heart-breaking’.

18 January 2023

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

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”.

Mr Monastyrsky, his deputy Yevhen Yenin and state secretary of the ministry of internal affairs Yurii Lubkovych were said to be among the dead.

It was unclear whether the crash was an accident or a result of the war with Russia, though no fighting has been reported recently in the area surrounding the Ukrainian capital.

Ms Braverman said: “This is truly heart-breaking. Interior minister Denys Monastyrsky was a leading light in supporting the Ukrainian people during Putin’s illegal invasion and when we spoke in October I was struck by his determination, optimism and patriotism.

“My thoughts go out to all those who have died in this horrible tragedy and their families. The UK will always stand with our Ukrainian friends.”

Mr Cleverly said the news of Mr Monastyrsky’s death is “tragic” and pledged: “We are ready to support Ukraine in whatever way we can.”

Mr Monastyrsky, a prominent member of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s cabinet, is the most senior Ukrainian official to have died during the 11-month war.

Nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter, officials reported. A further 15 children were said to be injured, with the crash reporting to have occurred near a kindergarten.

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