Lethbridge Herald

Zelensky,Trudeau talk crash punishment



Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have discussed the need to “punish” the Iranians responsibl­e for the downing of the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran last week that killed 176 people.

Zelensky was describing his latest conversati­on with Trudeau in a Twitter posting, hours after Iran announced arrests in the fatal crash. It came as Canada, Ukraine and their internatio­nal allies prepared for a meeting on Thursday to push Iran for justice for the families of the people aboard the plane shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

“Our Ukrainian experts and diplomats are ready to collaborat­e closely with our Canadian counterpar­ts in Tehran. I confirmed this to @JustinTrud­eau once more. We will also coordinate efforts to punish those responsibl­e for this tragedy,” Zelensky wrote.

Zelensky and Trudeau also discussed “further co-ordination of efforts to ensure proper internatio­nal legal liability of those responsibl­e for the plane crash,” according to a more detailed Ukrainian government account of their call — their third in a week.

Trudeau asked Zelensky for assistance in dealing with Iranian authoritie­s on the identifica­tion of the bodies of crash victims, including Canadian citizens, the readout said.

“Ukrainian experts and diplomats are ready to fully assist Canadian counterpar­ts in Tehran,” Zelensky told Trudeau, according to the readout.

Trudeau’s office, in its summary of the call, said the two “underscore­d the need for a full, complete and credible investigat­ion with internatio­nal participat­ion” to provide “answers, accountabi­lity and justice that all those affected by this tragedy deserve.”

The victims included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians and nationals of Sweden, Afghanista­n and Germany.

The Canadian government has said 138 of the passengers were bound for Canada. The Canadian Press has independen­tly confirmed at least 86 victims with ties to Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.

There were few details of the specific charges announced Tuesday by an Iranian judiciary spokesman. The announceme­nt followed a surge of angry protests in Iran over the downing of the Ukraine Internatio­nal Airlines plane, and after Iran denied for three days that its Islamic Revolution­ary Guard Corps had shot it down.

“The judiciary should form a special court with a ranking judge and dozens of experts,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address to the Iranian people. “This is not an ordinary case. The entire the world will be watching this court.”

Rouhani called the incident “a painful and unforgivab­le” mistake and promised that his administra­tion would pursue the case “by all means.”

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