The helicopter crash and death of Ukraine Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky this week served as a sharp reminder of just how closely tied we are to the current war in Ukraine. You see, Minister Monastryrsky has spent significant time in Kansas City. In 2009 he was invited by USAID to spend an entire month on the Community Connections Program focus on volunteerism. His local program was planned by Global Ties KC, then known as the International Visitors Council of Greater Kansas City (KCIVC). Over 4 weeks, he lived with a host family in the Kansas City area and met with our businesses and nonprofit organizations. He volunteered at Bridging the Gap, Ronald McDonald House, and Harvester’s Food Bank among others, along with being an honored guest at our concert for Global Peace. Global Ties KC has hosted over 200 visitors from Ukraine in the last decade, many with similar stories.
During that time, Mr. Monastryrsky was the director of an NGO for Ukrainian Youth named “To the future through the culture,” and taught in the department of government history and law at Khmelnytskyy University. Even then, he was focused on ensuring youth had a cultural foundation and grew up proud of being Ukrainian. In 2014, Mr. Monastryrsky became an assistant-consultant to the deputy minister at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and in 2019 he became a member of Parliament leading the committee on Law Enforcement Affairs. Following the resignation of the former interior minister in July of 2021, Mr. Monastryrsky became the new interior minister the same month.
As one of President Zelenskyy’s closest advisor’s, Mr. Monastryrsky played a large role in developing Ukraine’s wartime strategy and headed the National Police, State Emergency Service and the State Border Guard Service. Mr. Monastryrsky leaves behind a wife Zhanna and two children.
While we’ve not been able to follow the stories of each and every one of our Global Ties KC alumni and to track exactly where our alumni and their families are in the current war, they all remain dear in our hearts. This is not a conflict that’s being fought elsewhere with unknown people. It is our friends whose lives are being so closely impacted. For over 20 years the US government and US citizens have forged tightly knit bonds between our two Nations. Minister Monastryrsky is amongst thousands of Ukrainians who have traveled to the United States for training on a variety of topics including transparency and government, volunteerism, and safety and security.
On behalf of our team and the greater heartland community, rest in peace.