Ukraine’s interior minister was among 16 people, including two children, who were killed when a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten outside the capital Kyiv, officials said on Wednesday.
In a video that circulated online from the aftermath of the incident, cries could be heard at the scene which was consumed by a fire.
There were no immediate details on the cause of the crash.
‘In total, 16 people are currently known to have died,’ the head of national police, Igor Klymenko, said.
Among the dead are several top officials of the interior ministry including interior minister Denys Monastyrsky and his first deputy minister, Yevgeniy Yenin, he said.
Monastyrsky, a 42-year-old father of two, was appointed interior minister in 2021.
Twenty two people were hospitalised including 10 children.
Officials said that at the time of the crash children and employees were in the kindergarten.
Medics and police were working at the scene.
The scene of the crash in the town of Brovary is located some 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Kyiv.
Russian and Ukrainian forces fought for control of Brovary in the early stages of Moscow’s invasion until Russia’s troops withdrew in early April.
Russian president Vladimir Putin sent troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24 last year.
The crash came on the heels of a tragedy that saw 45 people including six children die when a Russian missile struck a residential building in the eastern city of Dnipro at the weekend.