Biden sends condolences to Ukraine following helicopter crash

Betsy Klein, CNN

CNN — US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden in a statement Wednesday expressed their “deepest condolences” following the helicopter crash that killed at least 14 people in Ukraine.

“Jill and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those killed in the tragic helicopter crash in Ukraine this morning, including Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyy and other senior Ukrainian government officials. Our hearts are also with the dozens of civilians who were killed or injured, including precious children, and their families. We grieve with all those who are mourning this heartbreaking tragedy,” Biden said in the statement.

Biden called Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky a “reformer and patriot” and praised his involvement “in the preservation of Ukraine’s democracy—both its defense against Russian aggression, and the vital work of reforms to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions through this war and into the future.”

Monastyrskyy, Biden said, “championed the will of the Ukrainian people” as he vowed to “continue to honor that legacy through efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions, and in our unfailing partnership with the people of Ukraine to keep the flame of freedom bright.”

Separately, the Biden administration on Wednesday also expressed condolences “for this devastating loss today of their interior minister and so many civilian lives, including children.”

John Kirby, national security council director for strategic communications, told CNN’s MJ Lee Wednesday that a cause of the crash has not yet been determined as Ukraine investigates.

“I don’t have any notion right now as to what caused that crash to occur. Ukraine is investigating. We certainly aren’t going to get ahead of them in their efforts. But again, we send our deepest condolences to everybody there,” Kirby said.