Zelensky mourns Ukrainian officials and others killed in helicopter crash

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Jan. 21 (UPI) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday attended an emotional farewell ceremony for Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyy and 13 others killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv.

Rescue workers said that 14 people were killed as a result of Wednesday’s crash — 10 who were in the helicopter and four on the ground — including one child. Twenty-five other people were injured in mishap at Brovary, Ukraine.

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Zelensky and his wife, Olena Zelenska, laid flowers on the coffins of their dead compatriots at the ceremony held at the Ukrainian House, the national center in Kyiv.

“Pain is filling the heart. The indescribable sadness is covering the soul,” Zelensky wrote in a Telegram message. “Ukraine is losing its best sons and daughters every day. thank you for your implant and decent work for the benefit of Ukraine. You are forever in our hearts. Eternal memory!”

“The tragedy in Brovary has left another scar on every Ukrainian,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said during the ceremony. “Fourteen people died. Some people lost their mothers and fathers. And someone lost a child. It is impossible to describe in words what kind of grief and pain this is.”

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U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden also released a statement mourning the victims of the helicopter crash.

“Mr. Monastyrskyy and his team were deeply involved in the preservation of Ukraine’s democracy-both its defense against Russian aggression, and the vital work of reforms to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions through this war and into the future,” the couple said.

“A reformer and patriot, Mr. Monastyrskyy championed the will of the Ukrainian people,” they added.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine receives a U.S. flag from Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) after addressing a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo