Ukraine yesterday demanded that Iran punish those guilty for the downing of a Ukrainian airliner and compensate those affected, while praising Tehran for cooperating with the “objective” investigation.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy was due to discuss the incident with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after press time last night, Zelenskiy’s press office said.
“We expect Iran ... to bring the guilty to the courts,” Zelenskiy wrote on Facebook, calling also for the “payment of compensation” and the return of remains.
Tehran yesterday admitted that it accidentally downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Wednesday, killing all 176 people onboard, shortly after launching missiles at bases hosting US forces in Iraq.
Rouhani said Tehran “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”
Tehran has invited the US, Ukraine, Canada and others to join the crash investigation.
Kiev said that Iran had cooperated with its experts and it expects an objective probe.
Tehran has handed Ukrainian experts enough data including “all the photos, videos and other materials” to show that the investigation “will be carried out objectively and promptly,” Zelenskiy’s office said.
“The political part of the work is finished,” it said.
It published photographs of experts examining the scene and close-ups of holes in the fuselage and shrapnel damage.
Ukraine on Friday said its experts dispatched to Iran had been granted access to the flight’s black boxes, debris from the plane, the crash site and to recordings of conversations between the pilot and the airport control tower.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, which is coordinating the probe, told reporters that Kiev did not yet have evidence on where the missile was produced, only that it was “launched from Iranian soil.”
Zelenskiy earlier said that Ukraine hoped the inquiry would be pursued “without deliberate delay and without obstruction.”
He urged “total access” to the full inquiry for the 45 Ukrainian experts, and in a tweet also sought an “official apology.”
Ukraine International Airlines chief executive Yevhenii Dykhne said at a news conference in Kiev yesterday that Tehran should have closed the airport due to the escalation of tensions in the region following the US’ killing of a top Iranian general.
“It’s absolutely irresponsible... If you’re playing at war, they were obliged to close the airport,” Dykhne said.
He wrote on Facebook that the Ukrainian crew and the aircraft “were the best.”
In Tehran, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander yesterday said that the missile operator who shot down the passenger jet opened fire independently because of communications “jamming.”
The operator had mistaken the Boeing 737-800 for a “cruise missile” and only had 10 seconds to decide whether to open fire, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, the guards’ aerospace commander, said in televised remarks.
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