Eighteen died in helicopter crash near Kiev, including minister and three children

Eighteen died in helicopter crash near Kiev, including minister and three children

Eighteen people were killed in a helicopter crash in the Ukrainian city of Brovary in Kiev Oblast near a childcare center and an apartment building on Wednesday. According to the police, among those killed are the leadership of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs: Minister Denis Monastirski, his deputy minister and a state secretary. They were with at least five others in the crashed helicopter. Three children also died in the accident.

The Ukrainian authorities have not yet released any information about how the accident happened. According to the website Windy.com, low clouds hung over Brovary on Wednesday morning and visibility was limited. Unconfirmed images posted on social media show a completely destroyed helicopter, believed to be a government aircraft, as well as the fire that started the accident. At least 22 people were taken to hospital with injuries, including 10 children. At the time of the accident, children and staff were present in the daycare.

This message was updated at 9:58.

Route: plans to participate in delivery of Patriots to Ukraine

The Netherlands intends to support Germany and the US in their project to send Patriot anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said this on Tuesday during a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House, international news agencies and NOS report.

Exactly what that support will look like – whether the Netherlands will deliver a Patriot anti-aircraft missile or, for example, plans to help train Ukrainian soldiers – is not known. The Ministry of Defense could not confirm the reports on Tuesday.

Patriot air defense systems are weapon systems that can intercept targets in the air up to an altitude of about twenty kilometers and a distance of sixty kilometers using radar. These targets can be anything: Patriot can take out helicopters, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, among others. Multiple intercepts at the same time are also possible for the weapon system, which can operate fully automatically.

The Netherlands will supply a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. Germany and the United States have already announced that they will supply this weapon system. Photo Evert-Jan Daniels/ANP

Zelensky’s adviser resigns after statements about Dnipro missile attack

Oleksiy Arestovich, one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers, resigned on Tuesday. Shortly after the missile attack on Dnipro, which killed at least 40 people, he said the missile had been shot down by Ukrainian air defenses and hit the apartment building. In his resignation letter, which he shared on Facebook, he calls it a “fundamental mistake”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, among others, accepted the idea that Ukrainian air defenses could have caused the deaths. Minister of Defence Andriy Zahorodnyuk and his deputy minister Hanna Maliar contradicted it: the apartment collapsed due to a Kh-22 missile, which cannot be intercepted by Ukrainian air defense. “No doubt about it,” writes Maliar.

Arestovich’s statement sparked outrage among Ukrainian politicians. MP Oleksi Hontsharenko wrote on Telegram that he was collecting signatures to force the presidential adviser to go. On Friday morning, Arestovich apologized to “everyone who was deeply hurt by my earlier misrepresentation of the Russian missile attack,” but apparently that wasn’t enough. Honcharenko calls Arestovich’s dismissal “the right step”.

The apartment in Dnipro, Saturday after the rocket attack. Photo Vitalii Matokha/AFP

The Netherlands and Germany are calling for more attention to the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia

The Netherlands and Germany are working together to raise awareness of Ukrainian children abducted from occupied territory by Russia. This was announced by Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra (CDA) and his German colleague Annalena Baerbock on Monday during a joint press conference in The Hague, according to international news agencies.

“These are tens of thousands of children,” said Hoekstra, who believes more attention should be paid to these “despicable crimes” by Russia. According to Baerbock, the perpetrators of the kidnappings must be brought to justice. These are children who are abducted from occupied territory to the Russian region, where they end up in orphanages or are adopted by host families. Russia claims to help them with the deportation of the children, while in many cases their Ukrainian families or carers are still alive.

Hoekstra and Baerbock announced that they would work with the UN, OSCE and the International Criminal Court to bring more international attention to the plight of children. “Their parents, families and carers no longer have to live in uncertainty and fear. These children are at home with their families in Ukraine. They did not leave their homes voluntarily, but were kidnapped,” Baerbock said.

The German foreign minister also visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday, where she spoke with Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan. Afterwards, Baerbock expressed his support for a special tribunal to try Russian aggression and war crimes in Ukraine.

A playground at an orphanage in Kherson. During the occupation, Russia is said to have kidnapped 46 children here. Photo Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkish Ombudsman: Russia and Ukraine are working on a major prisoner exchange

Russia and Ukraine are working on an agreement to exchange a total of 1,000 prisoners of war. The Turkish Ombudsman Seref Malkoç said this on Monday. He attended a meeting last week between Ukraine’s ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets and his Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova, where both sides presented a list of prisoners of war to be exchanged.

According to Malkoç, Ukraine requested the release of 800 prisoners of war and handed Moskalkova a list of 200 names. The Turkish ombudsman says his country is willing to arrange a “humanitarian corridor” in Istanbul where the prisoners can be exchanged without danger.

The exchange of (wounded) prisoners was also discussed earlier Monday during a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey. Since the start of the war, Russia and Ukraine have already exchanged several hundred prisoners of war.

At least 40 killed in rocket attacks in Ukrainian Dnipro, the number continues to rise

The death toll from the rocket attack that hit an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday rose to 40 on Monday. This is according to the Ukrainian authorities. The figure is one of the highest since the start of the war and is expected to continue to rise.

According to Ukrainian regional governor Valentyn Reznitchenko, “the fate of 35 other residents of the building is unknown”, fueling fears that the death toll could double. At least 75 people are said to have been injured in the attack, including fourteen children. Rescue operations, including the deployment of a dog team, continue to find survivors under the smoking rubble. Since the start of the rescue operations, at least 39 people have been rescued from the destruction, according to the governor.

The Kremlin, as it always does, denied responsibility for the massacre and blamed the Ukrainian side. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, spoke of “a tragedy” due to Ukrainian air defense.

People pay tribute to the site where a block of flats was hit hard by a Russian missile attack Photo Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Kremlin reacts angrily to British delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine

The Kremlin is reacting with irritation to the news that Britain will supply the heavy and modern Challenger 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army. This was reported by the Reuters news agency on Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said British tanks will “burn like the rest”. According to Peskov, the new shipment of heavy defense equipment, which has been promised by Great Britain, Poland, the United States and France, among others, will make only a small difference to the course of the war.

At the highest political level in NATO, since the beginning of the war, the question of what equipment can be supplied to Ukraine without provoking Russia too much has been raised. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is loudly begging for heavier weapons like fighter jets and tanks. According to Zelensky, whose counteroffensive stalled last summer, heavy tanks would be the way to break through Russian lines again. On Saturday, Britain caved in to Zelensky by announcing it would supply 14 heavy tanks to Ukraine. Other allies, including the US and Germany, are under further pressure from the British commitment to also provide tanks.

Germany produces the heavy and advanced Leopard 2 tanks, and must give permission to other countries that also have Leopard 2s to supply, such as Finland and Poland. Chancellor Olaf Scholz will only do that if the Americans deliver their M1 Abrams tank. But according to the US, it is too advanced and high-maintenance to just send it to the front. Both countries are also afraid that their advanced tank technology will fall into Russian hands if the tanks are deployed in Ukraine.

A British Challenger 2 tank in Iraq. Photo Tony Nicoletti/Reuters

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