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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 634
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian Helicopter, Carrying 'Illegal Migrants' Crashes In Slovakia, Killing At Least 6
5 years
Two Blasts This Morning In Uzhgorod , Zakarpattia

A Ukrainian helicopter crashed last night near the Slovak village of Stretavka, less than 15 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

The discovery of the wreckage was not reported until this afternoon. 

Slovak news site reports that six people were killed in the crash. Robert Kaliňák, the Slovak interior minister, said that he could not exclude the possibility that the death toll may increase.


Police have cordoned off the crash site. Photo: TV JOJ

Slovak investigators said that the helicopter appeared to have been flying dangerously low in attempt to evade radar while crossing the border without authorisation.

Bad weather last night would have made their flight even more dangerous. 

Yaroslav Galas, a spokesman for the state administration in Ukraine's Zakarpattia region, told the 112 television channel that the Mi-2 helicopter had been carrying illegal migrants.

"There were four men and two women, but there is no more information yet, they were citizens of southeast Asia and Africa." 

Galas said that the helicopters flight route is still under investigation but that it was possible it had taken off from the Lviv region.

The report notes that people smugglers have been active on the border with Ukraine. A Zlin Z-37 light aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Nizhny Hrusov, not far from Stetavka, two months ago. According to the report, the plane had been stripped of its chemical tanks, usually used for crop spraying, providing a space that could have been intended for transporting people.

-- Pierre Vaux