Politics

Ukraine unsure Iranian 'human error' led to downed airliner

By AFP

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Relatives of the 11 Ukrainians who died in a plane mistakenly shot down by Iran in January, react during a ceremony unveiling a memorial stone at the site of the future monument at the Boryspil International airport outside Kiev on February 17th. [Sergei Supinsky/AFP]

Ukraine said Tuesday (July 14th) it was too early to conclude that a Kiev-bound passenger plane was shot down by Iran in January because of human error as Tehran has claimed.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was hit by two missiles and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's main airport on January 8th amid heightened US-Iran tensions.

Iran admitted several days later that it accidentally shot down the plane, killing all 176 people on board.

On Sunday, Iran's civil aviation authority said the misalignment of an air defence unit's radar system was the key "human error" that led to the accidental downing of the jet.

But Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: "I want to emphasise clearly that it is too early to state that the plane was shot down due to human error."

He said conclusions should be drawn "within the framework of an investigation", adding that "all the facts should be established".

Last month French aviation investigators said they would take the jet's black box recorders from Iran and begin studying them on July 20th.

Ukraine has said it would send experts to help with the work and suggested the findings from Paris would be reliable.

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