January 31, 2023

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Russian fighters claim key village near Bakhmut: Live updates

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The helicopter crash that killed top Ukrainian officials on Wednesday has created a vacuum at the top of an important war ministry as Kyiv prepares for a possible Russian offensive in the spring and comes under relentless long-range attacks on its civilian infrastructure.

Interior Minister Denis Monasterysky, a trusted adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky and responsible for the country’s internal security, was among at least 14 people who died when the helicopter crashed in the small town of Brovary outside Kyiv on Wednesday. According to the Verkhovna Rada, Yevhen Yenin, the first deputy minister of internal affairs, and Yury Lobkovich, the state secretary in the ministry, were also killed.

Describing each death as a “result of war,” Zelensky linked the accident to the Russian invasion, even as investigators assessed whether mechanical failure, pilot error, sabotage—or another factor entirely—caused the crash. Government officials on board the ship were heading to a combat zone, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of the Ukrainian president’s office.

Whatever the cause, the impact of the collapse is clear: Gone is a member of Mr. Zelensky’s inner circle, which has somehow managed to remain intact since the start of the war. The disaster comes as Kyiv renews a diplomatic push to some of the deadliest weapons of the allies, its main supporters fearing there is not enough time for the Ukrainian military to break the deadlock with Russian forces before Moscow launches another ground assault. .

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The accident happened hours ago Mr. Zelensky appealed to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, SwitzerlandFor more advanced weaponry, including tanks and air defense missiles, two days before NATO defense ministers and other officials are scheduled to meet at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss whether to send additional powerful tanks to support Ukraine’s defense efforts.

Monasterysky, the highest government official to die since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, oversaw tens of thousands of Ukrainians fighting to defend their country as part of police, national guard and border units.

Mr. Monasterysky, 42, also directed rescue and recovery efforts this week in Dnipro, where a Russian missile killed 45 people in one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in the nearly year-long war.

In his evening address on Wednesday, Mr. Zelensky said that Mr. Monastyrsky’s responsibilities had been redistributed and that the country’s national police chief, Igor Klimenko, would lead the ministry until a replacement was chosen.