Ukraine honours interior minister, other senior officials, killed in helicopter crash

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Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy and five other ministry officials were killed when their French-made Super Puma helicopter crashed in fog at a nursery on the eastern outskirts of Kyiv on Wednesday.

Seven other people were killed in the crash, including one child. Officers are still investigating the cause of the crash.

The helicopter went down just days after at least 45 people were killed in a Russian missile attack that partially destroyed an apartment block in the southeastern city of Dnipro.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces are repelling an unrelenting Russian assault in the east, where Moscow has spent huge resources on incremental advances 11 months into its full-scale invasion.

“Indescribable sadness is covering the soul,” Zelenskiy wrote in a Telegram post on Saturday. “Ukraine is losing its best sons every day.”

Zelenskiy and his wife, Olena Zelenska, paid their respects to relatives of the victims inside the large Ukrainian House cultural center in central Kyiv. A crowd of mourners went outside to Independence Square.

Kyrylo Budanov, the head of military intelligence, described Monastyrskyi’s death as a “huge loss”.

“If it wasn’t for (Monastyrskyi), everything could have been completely different,” he told Ukrainian media, referring to the resistance that Ukraine mounted after the Moscow attack on February 24.

“He is a true hero of this country.”

Monastyrskyi was flying to a location near the front line, a police spokesman said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk and Yuriy Kovalenko; Writing by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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