Top Ukrainian official accuses Iran of terrorist act in downing UIA Flight PS752
The destruction of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752, which was downed by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile in early 2020, was a terrorist act, Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), said on Jan. 5 in an exclusive interview with U.S.- government-operated Voice of America’s Persian service.
“What happened on Jan. 8, 2020, was a terrorist act committed against a civilian aircraft,” Danilov said.
Danilov noted that before and after Iran’s pre-dawn missile strikes on Flight PS752, Iranian authorities had allowed other civilian jets to take off from Tehran airport.
“We have the impression that (the Iranians) were waiting specifically for our plane,” Danilov said.
The Iranian government has denied claims of intentionality, calling the downing the result of “human error.”
The NSDC secretary said those who allegedly were waiting to strike the UIA jet were senior Iranian officials.
“It must have been an order from senior management. No (air defense) operators can make such a decision on their own,” Danilov claimed.
Danilov had previously stated his belief that the Iranian downing of Flight PS752 was “intentional” and a “conscious attack” during an April 2021 interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
In explaining his belief that the downing of the Ukrainian plane was intentional, Danilov suggested that Iran might have used it as a pre-dawn distraction to calm an escalating confrontation with the more powerful U.S. military.
However, there is scant evidence for such an assertion.
PS752 downing near Tehran
Kyiv-bound passenger flight PS752, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukraine International Airlines, was shot down in Iran on Jan. 8, 2020, shortly after taking off from Tehran International Airport.
All 176 people on board, including 11 Ukrainian nationals – nine crew and two passengers – were killed.
Most of the victims were citizens of Iran and Canada.Three days later, Iran officially admitted that the Ukrainian aircraft had been shot down, saying it was the result of unintentional “human error.”
Data from the aircraft’s flight recorders released in July 2020 confirmed that the aircraft had been destroyed after being hit by two anti-aircraft missiles.
According to the report, the first missile caused significant damage to the aircraft, but its engines remained running and pilots attempted to maintain control of the flight. However, the second missile’s impact resulted in the plane’s destruction.
Iran insists that the plane shoot-down was purely a mistake by an air defense controller.
Ukraine has rejected Iran’s claims and demanded admission to the investigation, and reparations.Iranian authorities have charged 10 Iranian officials with being responsible for PS752’s downing, though they have refused to disclose their names and positions.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Jan. 6 that Iran continues to avoid its international legal responsibilities and refuses to negotiate the payment of compensation for the destruction of Flight PS752.
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