Kyiv: Screams of children heard after fatal helicopter crash
Brave teenagers have described the shocking scenes they faced when they rushed to offer assistance after the helicopter crash which killed 14 people in Kyiv earlier this month. And the pair also took the opportunity to send a defiant message to Vladimir Putin’s Russia – while thanking Britain for its ongoing support, not least the decision to supply Challenger 2 tanks.
The accident, which happened on January 18, resulted in the deaths of the three main figures in Ukraine’s interior ministry, including Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, 42, when the aircraft crashed next to a nursery school.
There is no evidence to suggest Russian sabotage – but Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has nevertheless pointed the finger at Putin, suggesting the crash would not have happened had it not been for the invasion of February 24, 2022.
Eyewitnesses speaking after tragedy agreed, citing Russia’s repeated pummelling of his country’s power grid, which meant many buildings were not illuminated at the time.
Express.co.uk was put in touch with Glib and Andriy, both aged 16, by PR Army, a non-profit organisation of Ukrainian communication experts.
Glib Kasyan, a pupil of Brovary Lyceum, and a keen amateur boxer, explained: “That morning I had to take a blood test at the children’s clinic.
“I was supposed to be there at 8am, but I was a little late and came at 8.10am. There was a short line and I was supposed to be the next to go in when I heard the nurse screaming in the office.
Andriiy (top) and Glib, both 16, rushed to help after the helicopter crash
Kyiv: The funeral service for the 14 people killed in the crash
“I didn’t understand what happened, she ran out and said that something fell on the kindergarten. Then my friend Andriy called me and said that a helicopter fell on a kindergarten across from his house.
“I immediately grabbed my things and ran there. It takes five minutes to walk there, but I ran there in a minute.”
Fortunately the nursery did not sustain a direct hit, but Glib was nevertheless faced with shocking sights on arrival.
He said: “The children there had bruises, some had burns on their faces, one boy had burnt hair on his head.
“At first we went to look for medics, it was the first minutes after the helicopter fell, there were not enough medical crews.
“We decided not to waste time and gave the children first aid ourselves. The children were crying, we calmed them down.”
Andriy studies at Kyiv Vocational College
Glib, also 16, is a pupil of Brovary Lyceum
Glib admitted he had initially been “sceptical” about Mr Zelensky – but has since changed his mind completely.
He said: “He showed the true qualities of a real person, a person with a capital letter.
“He is fighting for a free people, a free country, and I fully support him as a politician.”
Glib also agreed with Mr Zelensky’s assessment in terms of who was to blame.
He said: “The aggressor is responsible for any consequences of the war.
“As far as I know, the helicopter flew to a hot spot on the outskirts of the Kharkiv region.
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Glib and Andriy with Brovary Lyceum head Ihor Sapozhko
“If Russia had not come to us with weapons, we would have there was no need to defend, and this hot spot simply would not exist, the helicopter would not need to fly there.”
Glib also maintains an unshakeable belief that Ukraine will eventually prevail – and said he was grateful for the support of allies such as the UK.
He stressed: “I truly love my country, it always hurts me when missiles fly over it. I am, I was, and will be a part of Ukraine.
“It was this love, that pain, that guided me when I helped at that moment, in the kindergarten. All the people of Ukraine are grateful to Britain for its support, for every tank that is transferred to Ukraine gives us hope and accelerates us to victory.
“At the moment, we all have one goal and that is to be the only mechanism for victory. Remember, free people will never accept slavery, and democracy is a treasure that we have been looking for forever, and we must protect it.”
Andriy Datsenko, who studies at Kyiv Vocational College and who is also an amateur boxer, lives near the kindergarten.
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He said: “I was sleeping and heard a strong blow. I quickly got up, found the first aid kit at home and began to think about what to do next.
“I called Glib right away, in a few minutes we met him on the street and started helping the children. We saw four children standing near the kindergarten.”
Andriy’s mother brought the youngsters back to their apartment with their teacher, who then ran back to look for other children while Glib and Andriy provided first aid.
He said: “If there was no war, this helicopter would not fly, so I think that in any case it is the fault of Russia, which went to war against us.
“Of course, I know that no one is safe from war, so everyone should do their part so that our country wins as soon as possible.
“I’ve never doubted the victory of Ukraine, because we have something to fight for, we are fighting for the integrity of our borders, for the future of youth, for our security!”