Zelensky Addressed Ukraine on the Downing of UIA Plane in Iran

The President of Ukraine gave an address to the Ukrainian people about the ongoing investigation into the downing of the UIA plane in Iran


Photo President of Ukraine Press Service


After a day of startling revelations in the plane crash of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 near Tehran, Iran on January, 11, 2020, in which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard admitted to firing a missile that brought the passenger plane down killing all 176 on board, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, held several high level phone conversations, including with the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

The press service for President Zelensky reports that Rouhani initiated the call with Zelensky.

Rouhani expressed condolences to the Ukrainian people and the families of those killed as a result of shooting down of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800. He apologized on behalf of the Iranian side for the tragedy that took 176 lives. Rouhani fully acknowledges that the tragedy was caused by the erroneous actions of the military of Iran.

Official Tehran assured that everyone involved in the disaster would be held accountable, and the Ukrainian expert group would be provided with all the necessary support for the further effective cooperation in the legal and technical fields.

Rouhani also said the bodies of the Ukrainians killed in the downing, 9 crew and 2 passengers, would be returned as quickly as possible once positive identifications have been made.

Following the day’s event, Zelensky addressed the people of Ukraine to update them on the events and his work with various government organizations in Ukraine. Below is a transcript of his remarks as released by the press service for President Zelensky:

Fellow Ukrainians!

I have just had a phone conversation with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani.

He officially apologized to all of Ukraine and the relatives of the deceased, and acknowledged the fact that Iran had shot down a Ukrainian Boeing 737.

Now I want and I am finally able to tell you in detail about all the actions of the Ukrainian authorities, starting from the tragic morning of January 8.

Immediately after the plane crash, the emergency operations center at the NSDC of Ukraine was created and started working.

The ambassador and consul of Ukraine in Iran arrived at the scene at Imam Khomeini Airport.

An extraordinary government meeting was held to decide on the creation and deployment of a search and rescue group to Iran.

It included 45 experts from the State Aviation Service, the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine, representatives from the NSDC, Security Service of Ukraine, State Emergency Service, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UIA.

We have sent to Tehran the best specialists of our country with extensive expertise.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine appealed to Iran, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom to establish an international investigation group.

On January 9, at 3:30am [local time in Tehran] our search and rescue team arrived in Tehran and started its work at the scene of the disaster two hours later.

I had a conversation with the President of Iran regarding a clear and full interaction with our experts. They gained access to the debris of the aircraft, black boxes, records from radars and dispatchers from the flight control center.

In the morning of January 9, the NSDC Secretary outlined four major versions, including the possibility of the Ukrainian plane being hit by a missile.

DNA of relatives of the victims was collected very quickly to identify the bodies of the deceased. In particular, of the cabin crew member whose relatives were in the temporarily occupied territory.

I have held working consultations with our international partners – the Prime Ministers of Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan, and have emphasized the need for joint action to investigate the circumstances of this tragedy.

In the evening, statements came from US, Canadian and UK leaders about the alleged downing of Ukraine’s Boeing.

We urged all international partners to provide data that would confirm this version.

We worked systematically, without hysterics for the sake of one thing – achieving the result, namely finding out the truth about the circumstances of the plane crash.

On January 10, I had a conversation with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a meeting with US Chargé d’Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien who provided me with important and useful information for the investigation.

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Melinda Simmons, also provided important information.

I want to commend the work of Ukrainian experts in Iran.

They worked and continue to work selflessly, diligently and around the clock. Their high professionalism and promptness, convincing preliminary findings and evidence found in Tehran did not allow for hiding the truth.

Today, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran has acknowledged the fact of shooting down the Ukrainian plane and admitted its fault in the plane crash.

This has also been undoubtedly aided by the support of international partners and the steadfast position of the world community. For this I express my sincere gratitude to the leaders of the US, Canada, Great Britain, other countries, international organizations – on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

At present, a group of Ukrainian experts is continuing its work.

A series of steps still need to be taken to complete the investigation.

They are currently trying to rebuild the plane.

Returning to the conversation with the President of Iran.

We agreed that right now he would order finishing the identification of the bodies of the deceased and prepare them for the return to Ukraine as soon as possible together with Ukrainian experts.

This is to happen shortly.

We also agreed to start working together to decipher the two onboard recorders – black boxes.

We agreed on full legal and technical cooperation, including the issue of compensation.

We agreed that nobody would avoid punishment.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine opened an investigation for the murder of Ukrainian citizens.

The Government will provide financial assistance to the families of the victims.

The state will also assist them in receiving compensation from the carrier, insurance companies and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I call on all international partners of Ukraine, the entire world community to be one and persistent until the full and final investigation into all the circumstances of this disaster. All of us need it.

For the sake of a human who should feel safe in this turbulent world – on earth, in water or in the air.

For a human and human life must be of the highest value to any government, any state, any politician.

Fellow Ukrainians!

In these difficult days for each of us I want to say the following:

I will return all the dead to their loved ones, they will be able to bid a proper final farewell. We will honor their memory.

All perpetrators will be punished.

We will return to Ukrainians not only a sense of security and justice, but also confidence that Ukraine will always protect you in any corner of the planet.


Source President of Ukraine
date 12.01.2020
categories Ukraine
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