Ukrainian plane likely downed by Iran missile, Canada and Britain say
The Ukrainian airliner that crashed killing 176 people was likely downed in error by an Iranian missile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Jan. 9.
At a news conference, Trudeau confirmed intelligence from various sources led to that conclusion, but only a “full and credible investigation” could definitely confirm it.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence, Trudeau said. “The evidence indicates that the plan was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.”
He indicated that conclusion will hit families hard coming soon after the news of the crashed plane.
“The news will undoubtably come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving the face of this unspeakable tragedy.” Trudeau said.
But the prime minister said the government would not rest until the cause of the downing of the plane was known.
“The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers,” Trudeau said. “I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice. This government will not rest until we get that.”
The Boeing 737-800 was just airborne from an Iranian airport on Jan. 8 when it crashed. There were 63 Canadians on board, and 138 passengers flying to Canada. Most passengers were Iranian or Iranian Canadians bound for the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Trudeau refused to blame U.S. President Donald Trump, whose action in killing by drone the Iranian military commanders, Qassem Soleimani, resulted in Iran firing missiles into Iraq in retaliation.
“The evidence suggests that this is the likely cause but we need to have a full and complete and credible investigation to establish exactly what happened,” Trudeau said. “That's what we are calling for and that's what we're expecting will happen.”
A few hours after the Iraq attack, which Trudeau condemned, the airline crashed.
While a 45-man team from Ukraine has arrived to take part in the crash investigation, Trudeau said Canada's participation has not yet been confirmed, despite a firm request from Canada.
UK says Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iranian missile
Britain joined Canada on Jan. 9 in saying there is a body of evidence suggesting that an Iranian surface-to-air missile had shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that four British citizens were killed in the crash.
"There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” Johnson said.
“This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our international partners, and there now needs to be a full, transparent investigation,” he added.
Ukraine examines missile case in Tehran plane crash
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Jan. 10 that he does not rule out a missile strike as a cause of the deadly crash.
In a message posted on Facebook, Zelensky asked the world leaders, who accused Iran of downing the flight of the Ukraine International Airlines in Tehran on Wednesday, to provide Ukraine with the data, confirming the case.
"We keep in constant contact with our representatives [members of investigative commission]. The case of the missile hit is not ruled out, but today is not confirmed. Given recent statements by leaders in the media, we call on all international partners -- especially the U.S. government, Canada and the U.K. -- to provide data and evidence relating to the disaster to the investigative commission," Zelensky said.
The president added that he expected Iran to provide the Ukrainian experts with all information and access to every location to carry out "an impartial investigation".
He also mentioned he was going to discuss the crash with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later today.
Iran denies being behind Ukraine plane crash
Meanwhile, Iran on Jan. 10 denied being responsible for the downing of a Ukraine International Airlines jet that crashed in Tehran, calling the allegation a lie and psychological operation of the U.S., the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
In a statement, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said a committee in charge of investigating the incident has been formed on the basis of regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Rabiei said the committee will investigate the crash immediately and transparently with the participation of experts from relevant countries.
He stressed that a Ukrainian representative is already in Iran to examine the plane's black box.
"We also welcome the presence of the relevant states whose nationals were killed in the bitter incident in the investigation process," he added.
Rabiei said the allegation that the plane was hit by Iranian missiles is a calculated move and psychological operation.
He said footage that was published is a lie and no one will take responsibility for it.
He also invited the U.S. to attend the investigation committee instead of lying and engaging in psychological operations.
Video shows missile striking jetliner in Tehran
Video footage reviewed and verified by The New York Times on Jan. 9 appears to show a missile striking a Ukraine-bound aircraft shortly before it crashed in Tehran, Iran.
The 19-second clip appears to show a missile flying toward the passenger plane before it slams into the aircraft in a bright white flash. The plane, however, does not explode, instead appearing to change course before it falls out of view.
A large boom can be heard shortly after, but it is not clear from the video what the source of the sound could be.
The Times said it reviewed and verified other videos that showed the plane flew back towards Tehran's international airport while on fire before it quickly crashed.
EC chief calls for full probe of Ukrainian plane crash
European Council President Charles Michel called for a rigorous and transparent investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet in Iran.
"I support call of [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and [Canadian and British] Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson for open & thorough investigation into Ukrainian Plane Crash," Michel said on Jan. 9 on Twitter.
"When families lose loved ones, they deserve to know what happened.
"Our thoughts are with the families & friends of the victims," he added.
The crash killed all 176 people on board, with Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans and Germans also among the victims.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said other theories on the cause of the crash have been put forward, including collision with a drone, an engine explosion or a terrorist act.
The Boeing 737-800 was just airborne from an airport in Tehran when it crashed.