Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident, which claimed the life of Ukraine's interior minister and a dozen others near a kindergarten outside the capital Kiev.

At least 14 people were killed and another 25 people were injured, including 11 children, according to officials.
At least 14 people were killed and another 25 people were injured, including 11 children, according to officials. (AP)

A helicopter carrying the leadership team of Ukraine’s interior ministry crashed near a kindergarten and residential block in the Kiev region on Wednesday.

At least 14 people were killed and another 25 people were injured, including 11 children, according to officials.

Authorities continued investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred on a foggy morning in the capital's eastern suburb of Brovary. No fighting has been reported recently in the capital region.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, said authorities had launched an investigation into the incident. 

“For now, we are considering all possible versions of the helicopter crash accident,” Kostin said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday the investigation into the incident is ongoing, with "several theories" being examined. 

Ukrainian officials say the helicopter was not used in combat, and was often used to transport members of the Ukrainian government by the State Emergency Service.

The crash came four days after a Russian missile struck an apartment building in Ukraine's southeastern city of Dnipro, killing 45 civilians, including six children, in the deadliest attack on civilians since last spring.

Who was on board?

Ukrainian authorities say the crash killed nine people aboard the helicopter, including six ministry officials, one national police official and three crew members.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, who was one of President Volodymyr Zelensky's longest serving political advisers, is the highest profile Ukrainian casualty since Russia invaded nearly 11 months ago.

He was in charge of police and emergency services that dealt with the consequences of Russian strikes and demining, updating the public on casualties caused by Russian missile strikes since the war began.

Also on board were his first deputy minister Yevhen Yenin and state secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yurii Lubkovych.

A national police official and Tetiana Shutiak, an aide to Mr Monastyrskyi in the internal affairs ministry, also died in the crash.

The ministerial team on the helicopter were due to visit Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, local police chief Volodymyr Tymoshko said, adding on Facebook that they were “not just leaders," but “friends who I respected.”

About the route of the helicopter, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said in a briefing that it was going to one of the "hot spots" of the conflict with Russia, noting that more details will be provided later.

What’s the damage on the ground?

A child and three others on the ground were killed after the helicopter, a French-manufactured Super Puma, slammed into a building in Bovary, a north-eastern suburb of the capital Kiev, authorities said.

The helicopter went down in a residential area that is home to apartment buildings, a shopping centre and playgrounds.

The crash set off a large fire, and an entire side of the local kindergarten building was destroyed. Photographs show a gaping hole near its entrance, where the helicopter's rotor blades rested.

Residents reported seeing wounded people and children, hearing screams, and seeing wreckage scattered around.

"We took the children and passed them over the fence, away from the nursery as it was on fire, especially the second floor," 17 year-old-resident said near the nursery, where people left flowers and soft toys at a small makeshift memorial.

Dmytro Serbyn, who was in his apartment when the helicopter crashed, rushed to help children as soon as he saw flames billowing over the kindergarten.

"They were looking for their parents, children were crying... their faces were cut and covered in blood," he said.

"We pulled out one girl. I wrapped her in a jacket, her face was wounded... She did not tremble, did not cry."

‘Terrible tragedy’

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it a "terrible tragedy" and said he had asked The Security Service of Ukraine to launch a criminal investigation.

"The investigation is ongoing. There are several theories and I'm not authorized to talk about any of them until the investigation is finished," Zelensky told an audience in Davos when asked if the crash was an accident.

Separately, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal instructed officials to immediately create a special group for "a detailed investigation of all the circumstances of the tragedy."

Denys Shmygal echoed Zelenskyy's remarks and referred to Monastyrskyy's passing as a "great loss" for Ukraine’s government.

Shmygal posted on Telegram, "My profound condolences to the families of all the victims."

Authorities warned that the death toll from the crash could rise as more remains are identified.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies