President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Iran to punish those responsible for shooting down Ukraine’s airliner, pay compensation and apologise, a few hours after Tehran admitted it had shot down the aircraft accidentally last week, reported AFP.
The Ukrainian leader wrote on Facebook that he expected Iran “to bring the guilty to the courts” and asked for the return of the remains as well as payment of compensation.
Western countries, led by the US and Canada, had expressed suspicions Iran had mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian aircraft on Wednesday evening, killing all 176 on board. Initially, Tehran denied reports it had downed the plane, a few hours after it fired missiles at two military bases housing US troops in Iraq.
However, on Saturday, Iranian news agency IRNA ran a statement from the military that said the aircraft had been shot down after it was mistaken for a ‘hostile plane’ at a time when the country’s armed forces were bracing for a retaliation for its attack on the bases in Iraq.
Seeking an official apology, the Ukrainian president demanded complete access to 45 experts from his country to complete an investigation into the crash. He hoped the inquiry will be held in a transparent manner.
“We hope the inquiry will be pursued without deliberate delay and without obstruction,” Zelensky said.
Ukraine had revealed on Friday that its experts sent to Iran had been provided access to the black boxes, debris from the plane, the crash site and to recordings of conversations between the pilot and the airport control tower.
The majority of passengers on UIA Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kiev were Iranian-Canadian dual nationals but also included Ukrainians, Afghans, Britons and Swedes
Many in Kiev have compared the crash to the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 killing 298 people over eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting government forces.