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Damage at a kindergarten in the residential area of Brovary, Ukraine, after a helicopter crash on Jan. 18.Anton Skyba/The Globe and Mail

Ukraine’s Interior Minister was among the dead in a horrific helicopter crash Wednesday that also saw a child killed when the aircraft plunged into a kindergarten on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital.

At least 14 people – including Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and deputy minister Yevheniy Yenin – were killed in the incident. There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash, which saw the helicopter come down on a foggy morning in the Kyiv suburb of Brovary. Dozens of people, including children, were hurt, with many suffering burns from an ensuing fire in the kindergarten.

Video from the crash site shows a massive orange fire raging in and near the kindergarten Wednesday morning. The screams of children and adults were audible from the nearby apartment blocks that onlookers were filming from. The website of The Source kindergarten says 403 children attend the preschool.

Another video shot earlier in the day shows a helicopter flying low over the tree line near Brovary, a necessary measure to avoid detection by Russian forces.

“I heard the explosion, rushed to the window and saw a huge hole in the ground, lots of fire all over, and a tiny five-year-old child was burning,” said Olha Kudryavets, a 50-year-old Brovary resident, who said the explosion occurred at exactly 8:06 a.m., while she was feeding her cat.

“I wish I could instantly rush out and cover the burning child with my body. Then I saw a man running toward that tiny boy. He undressed the kid and stopped the fire. It sounded like our entire district was howling and screaming.”

Firemen roll up hoses in front of debris at the site of a helicopter crash in Brovary, Ukraine.Ed Ram/Getty Images

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the crash had a broad connection to the war in his video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “This is not an accident because it has been due to war and the war has many dimensions, not just on the battlefields,” he said after asking the Davos audience to stand and join him in a minute of silence to honour those killed. “There are no accidents at wartime. These are all war results.”

Mr. Monastyrskyi and Mr. Yenin, along with other Interior Ministry officials, were reportedly en route to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Despite the almost 11-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine – which has seen all civilian airports knocked out of service, though neither side has been able to gain complete control of Ukrainian airspace – senior Ukrainian officials occasionally use military helicopters to travel around this vast country.

Nine of the dead were in the helicopter, while five others were killed on the ground. Twenty-five others were injured, including 11 children – and officials warned the death toll could rise.

Though tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have died since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war last Feb. 24, Mr. Monastyrskyi is the most senior government official to be killed. As Interior Minister, he was responsible for the country’s police and emergency services, which have frequently responded to missile attacks on Ukrainian cities.

The chief of Ukraine’s National Police, Ihor Klymenko, was named acting Interior Minister on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said an investigation had been launched into what caused the French-made Super Puma helicopter to crash. “We will make public the results of our investigation. I don’t want to discuss what happened beforehand,” he said at a news conference in Kyiv, speaking alongside Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand.

Ms. Anand, who was in Kyiv to announce that Canada is donating an additional 200 armoured vehicles to Ukraine, expressed condolences to Mr. Reznikov over the crash “on behalf of 38 million Canadians, including 1.4 million Canadians of Ukrainian origin.”

“The news of the helicopter crash in Brovary is incredibly tragic. I’m sending my condolences to the families of the victims, to President Zelensky, and to the Ukrainian people,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “I’m wishing a fast and full recovery to the injured. Canada continues to stand with Ukraine.”

While no explanation had been ruled out, foul play wasn’t immediately suspected. “Unfortunately, the sky does not forgive mistakes, as pilots say, but it’s really too early to talk about the causes,” Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said. He added that it could take at least several weeks to investigate.

The State Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, said it was possible a breach of flight rules, a technical malfunction or intentional destruction caused the disaster.

Though there has been no significant fighting in the Kyiv region since early in the war, Russia regularly strikes the capital with cruise missiles and exploding drones. Most recent attacks have targeted the capital’s civilian infrastructure systems.

With reports from Associated Press