Ukraine War: Latest heartbreaking tragedy caused by Vladimir Putin's bloodlust provides another reason to back Kyiv to the hilt – Scotsman comment

In stark contrast to Vladimir Putin, whose public appearances since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine have been few and tightly controlled, Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrsky was a brave man prepared to put his life at risk by visiting his country’s troops in the thick of the fighting.

Early yesterday morning, Monastyrsky was taking just such a trip to a “hot spot” on the frontlines when his helicopter crashed near a nursery in an eastern suburb of Kyiv, killing him and 17 others, including three children on the ground. A further 15 children were believed to be among the injured.

At the time, it was foggy and, because there was no electricity after Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, there were no lights on the buildings, local people told the BBC. Furthermore, the risk of Russian missiles means that helicopters carrying senior Ukrainian officials are usually flown at tree level.

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So while this appears to have been an accident – though sabotage had not been ruled out – it was very much a consequence of Putin’s war on Ukraine, another 18 souls to be added to the tens of thousands weighing on the Russian dictator’s conscience, if he possesses one.

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Davos conference, “there are no accidents at war time… every individual, every death is a result of the war”. And Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: "Ukrainians will continue to be collateral as long as Putin continues his needless war.”

Such daily tragedies make it all the more important for the West to stay strong in its support for Ukraine and provide it with the necessary weapons and ammunition to defeat the Russian invaders. To do anything less risks allowing the cowardly Putin to win, to solidify his power in Russia and become an even greater threat to peace and stability in the world.

Not only that, it would embolden other tyrants to pursue their aims by military means, with China’s clear threat to invade Taiwan the most dangerous of a number of potential conflicts around the world.

Amid fears Russia is preparing a new offensive, Ukraine is counting on the world’s democracies to help them. It would be both immoral and foolish to let them down.

Wreckage from a crashed Ukrainian helicopter lies next to a kindergarten in Brovary, outside the capital Kyiv (Picture: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)

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