Zelenskiy attends memorial service for victims of helicopter crash in Ukraine Ukraine

A tearful Volodymyr Zelenskiy attended a memorial service on Saturday for seven senior Interior Ministry officials killed in a helicopter crash this week.

Former interior minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy and five other senior officials were killed on Wednesday when their French-made Super Puma helicopter crashed into a daycare center on the eastern outskirts of Kiev in foggy conditions.

Another seven people were also killed, including a child. Officials are investigating the cause of the crash.

The helicopter crashed days after at least 45 people were killed in a Russian missile strike that partially leveled an apartment building in the southeastern city of Dnipro.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces repulse a relentless Russian assault in the east, where Moscow has spent massive resources for incremental advances 11 months after the full-scale invasion.

“The indescribable grief covers the soul,” the Ukrainian president wrote in a Telegram post on Saturday. “Ukraine loses its best sons and daughters every day.”

Zelenskiy and his wife, Olena Zelenska, paid their respects to the victims’ relatives at the Ukraine House cultural center in central Kiev. A crowd of mourners squirmed out toward Independence Square.

Kyrylo Budanov, the country’s chief of military intelligence, described Monastyrskyi’s death as a huge loss.

“If it weren’t for Monastyrskyi, everything could have been completely different,” he told Ukrainian media, referring to the resistance Ukraine has built since Moscow launched its invasion on February 24 last year.

“He is a true hero of this country.”

Monastyrskyi had flown to a location near the front line, a police spokesman said Thursday.

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