The National - News

Tehran failed to share data on shooting down of Ukrainian airliner, Kiev says


Iran has not given Ukraine documents about its role in the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in 2020 that killed 176 people, the Foreign Ministry in Kiev said yesterday.

Tehran invited Ukraine’s ambassador to attend a trial of 10 military personnel that began yesterday after Iran completed its investigat­ion into the incident.

Ukraine thanked Tehran for the invitation then said that Iran had not complied “with its obligation­s under internatio­nal law and to provide requested informatio­n to the Ukrainian authoritie­s”.

The ambassador will not attend the trial, Ukraine said.

“As of today, the requests for internatio­nal legal assistance in criminal proceeding­s, sent by the Ukrainian side to the competent authoritie­s of the Islamic Republic of Iran, have not been fully complied with,” the ministry said on its website.

“The requested documents and informatio­n have not been provided by the Iranian side.”

The Irna news agency said 10 suspects from various military ranks were present at a hearing on Sunday.

An Iranian report into the disaster was completed in March.

That was described by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as “a collection of manipulati­ons, the goal of which is not to establish the truth but to whitewash the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Families of victims and their lawyers attended yesterday’s session, representi­ng 103 legal complaints about the shooting down of Ukraine Internatio­nal Airlines flight PS752.

The Iranian report quoted an unidentifi­ed judge as saying he hoped the court would issue a “precise, quick and serious” verdict, based on a “reasonable, fair, transparen­t, clearcut and strong” procedure.

The court also heard statements from lawyers of victims’ families.

The report, which did not identify the suspects, said the next session would be announced after further investigat­ions by the prosecutor.

Sunday’s session was the first since the incident nearly 22 months ago.

In April, a prosecutor said 10 officials were charged in the case. That developmen­t came a month after Iran faced internatio­nal criticism for releasing its report that blamed human error without identifyin­g those responsibl­e.

In January 2020, after three days of denial in the face of mounting evidence, Iran acknowledg­ed that its paramilita­ry Islamic Revolution­ary Guard Corps mistakenly shot flight PS752 down with two surface-to-air missiles.

In preliminar­y reports in 2020, Iranian authoritie­s blamed an air defence operator who they said mistook the Ukraine Internatio­nal Boeing 737-800 for a US cruise missile.

The error happened on the day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US troops in Iraq in retaliatio­n for an American drone strike that killed Qassem Suleimani, strategist of the IRCG’s Quds Force, in Baghdad.

There were 57 Canadians aboard flight PS752.

A panel of Canadian analysts who compiled a government-commission­ed report into the disaster in June last year said failures were systemic.

Iran now appears to be taking this view.

The analysts concluded that Iran’s air defences suffered a command and control failure, and with better co-ordination, the missile battery that fired on the plane would have known that a civilian airliner was at risk.

Later, IRGC officials publicly apologised for the incident.

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