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A helicopter crash that killed top Ukrainian officials on Wednesday created a vacuum at the top of a cabinet ministry critical to the war, while Kyiv braces for a possible Russian offensive in the spring and endures relentless long-range attacks on its civilian infrastructure.

Interior Minister Denis Monastryrsky, a trusted adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyi in charge of the country’s internal security, was among at least 14 people killed when a helicopter crashed in the small town of Brovary outside Kiev on Wednesday. According to Ukraine’s parliament, Yevan Yenin, first deputy minister of internal affairs, and Yury Lubkovych, the ministry’s state secretary, were also killed.

Calling each death a “consequence of war,” Mr. Zelensky, who linked the incident to Russia’s invasion, said investigators are assessing whether mechanical failure, pilot error, sabotage — or the whole thing — caused the crash. Kyrillo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, said the government officials on board were on their way to a war zone.

Whatever the cause, the impact of the crash is clear: Mr. A member of Zelensky’s inner circle, somehow managed to remain intact from the beginning of the war. The debacle comes as Kiev renews a diplomatic push for some of the deadliest weapons from the ally, as its key backers worry that the Ukrainian military will not have enough time to break the deadlock with Russian forces before Moscow launches another ground attack. .

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The accident happened a few hours ago At the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Zelensky appealed to world leaders.Two days ago, NATO defense ministers and other officials met at Ramstein air base in Germany to discuss whether to send more powerful tanks to help Ukraine’s defense efforts, as well as more advanced weapons, including tanks and anti-aircraft missiles.

The highest-ranking government official to die since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Mr. Monastryrski oversaw tens of thousands of Ukrainians fighting to defend their country as part of the police, national security and border units.

Mr. Monastryrsky, 42, directed rescue and recovery efforts this week in Dnipro, where a Russian missile killed 45 people in the worst attack on civilians in the nearly year-long war.

In his late night speech on Wednesday, Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Monastyrsky said his responsibilities had been reassigned and Igor Klymenko, head of the country’s national police, would lead the ministry until a replacement was chosen.

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