Bodies of 11 Ukrainians killed in plane crash sent home

January 19, 2020 - 19:37

TEHRAN — Bodies of the 11 Ukrainian nationals who died in a plane crash near the Iranian capital of Tehran arrived in Kiev on Sunday.

According to The Associated Press, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Oleksiy Goncharuk and other officials attended the solemn ceremony at Kiev's Boryspil airport to see the downed plane's nine Ukrainian flight crew and two passengers being removed from the aircraft

Ukraine International Airlines staff, some in tears, stood on the tarmac clutching flowers.

The Ukrainian passenger plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on January 8 near Tehran by air defense system.

The victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

The plane was shot nearly four hours after the Iranian military fired dozens of missiles at the U.S. airbase in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad five days earlier.

The Iranian military announced on January 11 morning that the plane had been mistaken for a cruise missile.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed "U.S. adventurism" for causing the Iranian military to shoot down the Ukrainian passenger plane. 

“Human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster,” Zarif tweeted on January 8.  “Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” Zarif added.

President Hassan Rouhani said last week that the Judiciary should form a special court headed by a high-ranking judge and assisted by tens of senior experts to investigate the issue.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday, “The plane crash was a bitter incident. Losing Iranian youths and people is a bitter incident.”

The Leader added, “To the same extent we grieved over the plane incident, the enemies cheered.”

“There are ambiguities in the plane incident. We thank the commanders for explaining it to the people, but this issue must be pursued and reoccurrence of similar incidents must be prevented seriously,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei also expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and thanked them for standing up to the enemy’s conspiracy and speaking out against the enemy’s desire.

MH/PA

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