Ukraine seeks apology, compensation from Iran for downed plane

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran state TV, citing military, said it ‘unintentionally’ shot down Ukrainian jetliner because of human error.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 3:50 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Hours after Iran admitted one of its missiles shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, Ukraine’s president is calling for – among other things – a formal apology, The Associated Press reported.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a statement Saturday indicating “assurances” from Iran of a “full and open investigation, bringing the perpetrators to justice” must be extended in the wake of the civilian deaths.

In addition, Zelenskiy said Ukraine expects the “paying of compensation” and “official apologies through diplomatic channels,” the AP reported.

Update 10:45 p.m. EST Jan. 10: Iran announced that its military ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard.

The statement came Saturday morning in Iran and blamed “human error” for the shootdown.

Update 11:45 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday that the U.S. believes it’s likely Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

“We’re going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination" on the next steps for the U.S., Pompeo said Friday at a news conference. “It’s important we get to the bottom of it.”

Pompeo said he’s been in contact with his Canadian counterpart and with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said at a briefing Friday in Kiev that Ukrainian investigators had gotten access to the black box recordings from the doomed flight, CNN reported. Prystaiko said investigators had full cooperation from their counterparts in Iran, according to the news network.

Authorities from the U.S., Canada and Europe have said preliminary evidence appears to show Iran shot down the Ukrainian jetliner Wednesday. The incident was reported amidst heightened tensions in the Middle East spurred by a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq last week and a subsequent Iranian retaliation bombing of bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. No injuries were reported.

Update 4:55 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Iranian officials denied allegations by at least two Western nations on Friday that a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed near Tehran earlier this week was brought down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, The Associated Press reported.

Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national aviation department, said during a press conference, “What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane.”

Abedzadeh then urged both U.S. and Canadian leaders to share any information they have on the crash to the contrary, the AP reported.

“If they are really sure, they should come and show their findings to the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s investigation team, Hassan Rezaeifar, said it could take more than one month to recover data from the plane’s black box flight recorder, the extraction of which might require assistance from international experts.

The entire investigation, Rezaeifar told the press conference, could last until 2021, the AP reported.

Update 9 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Iran has invited the U.S. accident-investigating agency to take part in the probe of this week’s crash of a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran.

The National Transportation Safety Board said late Thursday that it would “evaluate its level of participation in the investigation.”

The extent of the NTSB’s role could be limited by U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The New York Times has obtained video that appears to show an Iranian missile striking Ukraine International Airlines Flight

A loud boom can be heard in the video after what appears to be a small explosion. The Times reported the Boeing 737-800 continued flying for several minutes before turning back toward Tehran’s airport.

Update 3:10 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Thursday afternoon that intelligence officials believe an Iranian surface-to-air missile downed Ukraine International Flight 752.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence,” Trudeau said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. “This information indicates that the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile from Iran.”

He said authorities believe “this may well have been unintentional” and called for a collaborative investigation to determine the events that led to the deadly plane crash.

“We are working with Ukrainian investigators at this time and we are continuing to ask to have Canadians involved in this process,” he said. “We recognize that this is a situation where we’re going to need to get more clarity, more answers, and that’s why we’re calling for a complete and credible investigation with international partners.”

Trudeau said it was too soon Thursday afternoon to determine whether the suspected missile strike was an act of war or whether the U.S. was to blame for the attack. The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike last week that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“It’s really too early to draw any clear conclusions or to rule out any other possibilities,” Trudeau said. “I think it’s too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in any proportion.”

Officials continue to investigate the cause of Wednesday’s crash.

Update 1:55 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon about the Ukraine International Airlines crash that claimed the lives of 63 Canadians on Wednesday.

Justin Trudeau Live News Conf

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is providing an update on the ongoing investigation into the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran.

Posted by CityNews Toronto on Thursday, January 9, 2020

Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: European security officials believe that U.S. intelligence reports which suggest Iran mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Flight 762 are “credible,” according to CNN.

Unidentified officials told several news agencies that U.S. officials have deemed it “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed the Boeing 737-800 on Wednesday in Tehran. All 176 people on board the flight when it crashed died, officials said.

Citing unidentified government sources, CTV News and CBC News reported Canadian officials have also deemed the theory that the plane had been shot down as credible.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon about the plane crash, which claimed the lives of 63 Canadians.

Update 12:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he doesn’t believe mechanical problems caused the Ukraine International Airlines crash.

At a news conference to announce proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations, Trump told reporters he had his suspicions about the cause of the crash.

“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood,” Trump said. “They could’ve made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t even think that’s even a question.”

Trump comments came as reports surfaced that U.S. officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down the plane. Two unidentified U.S. officials told The Associated Press it was “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed the jetliner.

Update 12:05 p.m. EST Jan. 9: U.S. officials believe Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, CBS News and Newsweek reported.

Officials believe Iran might have mistakenly shot down the plane, CBS News reported.

Update 6:30 a.m. EST Jan. 9: Ukraine Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said Ukrainian officials are considering several theories about possible causes of Wednesday’s plane crash, including “a strike by a missile,” The Associated Press reported. Iran has denied that a missile strike was responsible.

Meanwhile, an Iranian report confirmed that crews have recovered both of the plane’s “black boxes,” the AP reported.

Update 5:15 p.m. EST Jan. 8: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that 138 passengers on the flight were connecting to Canada.

Update 1 p.m. EST Jan. 8: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared the State Department’s condolences Wednesday for families and friends of the 176 people killed in Wednesday’s Ukraine International Airlines crash.

Pompeo said the United States was calling for “complete cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash.”

“The United States will continue to follow this incident closely and stands prepared to offer Ukraine all possible assistance,” Pompeo said.

International rules mean Iran is tasked with investigating Wednesday’s crash, according to Reuters. Citing Iranian state television, Reuters reported the plane’s black box voice and data recorders had been found in the aftermath of the crash.

Update 5:46 a.m. EST Jan. 8: Iranian state media is reporting that crews have found one of the black boxes from the crashed plane, according to Reuters and the BBC.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Road and Transportation Ministry said an engine fire broke out before the pilot lost control of the aircraft, state media reported.

“It appeared the pilot couldn’t communicate with air-traffic controllers in Tehran in the last moments of the flight,” The Associated Press reported, citing Hassan Rezaeifar of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization.

The cause of the crash remains unclear, according to the AP.

Update 4:08 a.m. EST Jan. 8: Ukrainian officials have revealed the nationalities of the victims killed in Wednesday’s plane crash.

According to Foreign Minister Vadim Prystaiko, the dead include 82 people from Iran, 63 from Canada, 11 from Ukraine, 10 from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Germany and three from Britain, The Associated Press reported.

Nine of the Ukrainian victims were crew members, Prystaiko said.

Original report: The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, the report said. The crash is suspected to have been caused by mechanical issues, it added, without elaborating.

An investigation team was at the site of the crash in southwestern outskirts of Tehran, civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said.

The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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