Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced January 23 as a day of national mourning for those killed in a fire in a Kharkiv-based home for the elderly.
He made this announcement a briefing in Kharkiv on January 22.
"I will sign the decree, tomorrow will be a day of mourning at the national level," he said.
Zelensky noted that police and the State Emergency Service had updated him on the situation.
"Conclusions should be drawn after all the details have been collected," he said. "Let me again express my condolences to all families, near and dear [of the victims]. Unfortunately, in the recent year, the reasons for [my] visits to Kharkiv aren't very good. But we'll find out all the details. We are aware there will be very serious challenges."
Kharkiv fire: Known details
- On January 21, a fire broke out in a two-storied residential building in Kharkiv, which was used as a home for the elderly. Fifteen people died and five more were hospitalized.
- According to preliminary data, the cause of the fire was careless handling of electric heating devices.
- Police opened a criminal case under Part 2 of Article 270 (violation of the fire safety rules) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
- The Cabinet of Ministers set up a government commission chaired by Minister for Communities and Territories Development Oleksiy Chernyshov to probe into the causes of the fire.
- Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the police would decide whether to arrest the owner of the house where the fire broke out.
- Kharkiv Regional State Administration reported that the facility had been working illegally.
- Kharkiv's local authorities announced January 22 as a day of mourning in the city for the victims.