Ukraine demands punishment, compensation for airliner downed by Iran

KIEV (AFP) – President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded yesterday that Iran punish those responsible for the downing of a Ukrainian airliner, pay compensation and apologise.

“We expect Iran… to bring the guilty to the courts,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on Facebook, calling also for the “payment of compensation” and the return of remains.

Tehran admitted yesterday that it accidentally downed the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane, killing all 176 people on board on Wednesday, shortly after launching missiles at bases hosting United States (US) forces in Iraq.

“We hope the inquiry will be pursued without deliberate delay and without obstruction,” Zelensky added.

He urged “total access” to the full inquiry for 45 Ukrainian experts, and in a tweet also sought an “official apology”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier yesterday that Tehran “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”. UIA chief Yevhenii Dykhne also posted on Facebook, saying: “We never had any doubt that our crew and our plane could be the cause of this terrible catastrophe. They were the best.”

Ukraine said on Friday 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.

Friends and faculty members gather at The University of Windsor for a memorial service for the students who died in the Ukraine International Airlines flight crash, in Windsor, Ontario. PHOTO: AP