The death of Denys Monastyrsky, a top Ukrainian politician, at the age of 42 in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, marks the end of an era of violence in Ukraine.
But he had only recently become a part of the Ukrainian government. In July of 2021, just six months before the Russian invasion, he was sworn in as the country’s interior minister.
After graduating from law school in the western city of Khmelnytsky in 1980, he worked as a private attorney before entering politics in 2014. As a legal advisor, he was brought in to help with Volodymyr Zelensky’s 2019 presidential upset.
He was elected to parliament in that same year as a member of the president’s Servant of the People party and quickly rose to the position of head of the parliamentary committee on law enforcement affairs.
But his rise to prominence in politics was precipitated by the unexpected departure of Arsen Avakov, a political heavyweight who had served as interior minister for four successive regimes.
The president’s efforts to combat corruption had been met with speculation that Prime Minister Avakov would be removed from office by Mr Zelensky.
Appointing Mr. Monastyrsky was seen as further strengthening the president’s hold on power at the moment. Mr. Monastyrsky oversaw the Ukrainian police and security forces in his role as minister of the interior.
As Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, he took on the responsibility of organizing international backing for Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
He spoke to the international media, warning of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” and underlining the difficulties encountered by Ukraine’s emergency services, who are also under the jurisdiction of the minister of the interior.
In addition, he was instrumental in informing the Ukrainian public about the losses caused by Russian missile strikes.
Mariia Mezentseva, a friend of Mr. Monastyrsky’s and a member of parliament, described his death as “a tragedy for everyone” because his ministry was instrumental in Ukraine’s response to the invasion.
“His coworkers, friends, and family could contact him at any time. Since the beginning of President Zelensky’s campaign, he was quite close to him “the BBC, she said.
They will be remembered as “a really bright, smiley, kind, patriotic person and a civil servant of Ukraine,” she continued. “Sorry, I just can’t think of anything to say. I’m trying to remain calm, but it’s very difficult. This is a tragedy for everyone, after all.”
Yevgeny Enin, Mr. Monastyrsky’s deputy and a veteran intelligence officer and senior lawyer, was also killed in the helicopter crash. Enin had served in this role since September 2021.
The loss of these soldiers is a terrible tragedy for all Ukrainians, said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
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