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Ukraine seeks evidence as video appears to show missile hitting downed airliner over Iran

American, British and Canadian officials say intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the plane.

iran-plane-crash A satellite photo of the crash site. Source: AP/Maxar Technologies

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR Zelensky said he would speak to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today following claims that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner.

American, British and Canadian officials say intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the plane, killing all 176 onboard, perhaps unintentionally.

“The version of a missile is not ruled out, but it has not yet been confirmed,” Zelensky said on his Facebook page.

He reiterated Ukraine’s request to be sent all information needed to conduct a thorough investigation and said he would talk about the probe with Pompeo later today.

“Our goal is to establish the undeniable truth,” he said. “The value of human life is above all political motives.”

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, earlier said investigators were pursuing several leads following the crash, including a strike with a surface-to-air missile like a Russian-made Tor, a collision with a drone, engine failure or an act of terror.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday tha multiple intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 on board, including 63 Canadians.

Trudeau’s comments came as video emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit.

That and other footage posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defense batteries in bringing down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 early Wednesday.

The video, which The New York Times said it verified, shows a fast-moving object rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash is seen, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later an explosion is heard.

Source: Guardian News/YouTube

Citing information from allies as well as Canada’s own intelligence, Trudeau said the plane appeared to have been hit by an Iranian surface-to-air (SAM) missile.

“We know this may have been unintentional. Canadians have questions, and they deserve answers,” Trudeau told reporters.

He was backed by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said mounting evidence supported a missile strike, which “may well have been unintentional.”

Iran’s civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh has however said he was “certain” the plane was not hit by a missile.

“One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile,” Abedzadeh told a news conference in Tehran.

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.

The US National Transportation Safety Board late Thursday said it had received formal notification of the crash from Iran and would send a representative to join the crash probe.

Iran’s foreign ministry earlier invited the US plane maker Boeing to “participate” in the inquiry.

The flight went down in the dark just minutes after takeoff, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.

It was carrying 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons.

© – AFP 2020

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