Ukraine expects a full investigation, a full admission of guilt and compensation from Iran after the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement on Saturday.
Iran had earlier said it mistakenly shot down a plane killing all 176 people aboard and voiced its deep regret, after initially denying it brought down the aircraft in the tense aftermath of Iranian missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq.
Zelenskiy said “Iran has pleaded guilty to crashing the Ukrainian plane. But we insist on a full admission of guilt.”
“We expect from Iran assurances of their readiness for a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the dead, the payment of compensation, official apologies through diplomatic channels,” he added.
An Iranian military statement carried by state media said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States.
It also said those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted.
Ukraine International Airlines President Yevhenii Dykhne said on Saturday he never doubted that the airline had not caused the crash of its passenger plane in Iran.
“We didn’t doubt for a second that our crew and our plane couldn’t be the cause for this horrible plane crash, these were our best guys and girls,” Dykhne said.
“A sad day,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Human error at the time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies, and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”
The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
Iran had denied for several days that a missile caused the crash. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, a conclusion supported by videos of the incident.
First published: 13:33, 01.11.20