Zelensky addresses Ukrainians: Those responsible for UIA plane crash will be brought to justice

Zelensky addresses Ukrainians: Those responsible for UIA plane crash will be brought to justice

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky assures that the memory of all victims of the UIA plane crash in Iran will be honored and all those responsible for the tragedy will be brought to justice.

Zelensky made this statement in a video address to the Ukrainian people in connection with the UIA plane crash in Tehran.

The Office of the President of Ukraine released the full text of the address:

Dear Ukrainians!

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

He officially apologized to Ukraine and the relatives of the crash victims and acknowledged the fact that Iran had shot down the Ukrainian Boeing 737.

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

The emergency operations center of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine was set up and started to work immediately after the crash.

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

A special government meeting was held, and the decision to set up and send a search and rescue group to Iran was approved.

The group involved 45 experts from the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine, the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine, representatives of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the Ukraine International Airlines.

We sent to Tehran the best specialists of our country with vast experience in expert examinations.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine addressed a proposal to establish an international investigation team to Iran, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

At 3:30 on January 9, our search and rescue team arrived in Tehran and started work at crash site in two hours.

I had a conversation with the President of Iran regarding a clear and full interaction with our experts. They gained access to plane fragments, black boxes, recordings of radar and controllers from the flight control center.

On the morning of January 9, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine outlined four main versions, including the possibility of missile hitting the Ukrainian plane.

It was necessary to collect the DNA samples of crash victims’ relatives – in particular, those of relatives of a flight attendant who currently reside in the temporarily occupied territory – to identify the bodies.

I held working consultations with our international partners – the prime ministers of Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the presidents of Iran and Afghanistan – underscoring the need for joint action to investigate into circumstances of this tragedy.

Earlier that evening, the statements from US, Canada and UK leaders about possible downing of Ukraine's Boeing appeared.

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

Our work was systematic, without hysterics, we aimed only to achieve the result, namely to find out the truth about the circumstances of the plane crash.

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

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 have been working selflessly, diligently and around the clock. Their high professionalism and promptness, convincing preliminary findings and evidence found in Tehran made it impossible to hide the truth.

And today the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran acknowledged the fact of downing the Ukrainian plane and their fault in the plane crash.

This was undoubtedly facilitated by the support of international partners and the persistent position of the international community. I express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Ukrainian people to the leaders of the USA, Canada, the UK, other countries, international organizations.

Now a group of Ukrainian experts continues to work.

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

They are currently trying to reconstruct the plane.

A few words more about the conversation with the President of Iran.

We agreed that the instructions would be given right now to finish, together with Ukrainian experts, the identification of bodies of the crash victims and prepare them for return to Ukraine as soon as possible.

This should happen soon.

We also agreed to start working together to download two black boxes.

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

We agreed that no one would get away with it.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine initiated a case over the murder of Ukrainian citizens.

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

The state will also make every effort to obtain 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 stay united and persistent till the full and final completion of the investigation into all the circumstances of the crash. All of us need this.

For the sake of a person who needs to feel safe in this turbulent world – on land, on water or in the air.

Because people and their lives must be of the highest value to any government, any state, any politician.

Dear Ukrainians!

These difficult days for each of us, I want to say the following thing.

I will return the deceased to their relatives and friends, they will be able to pay last respects humanly. We will honor their memory.

All perpetrators will be brought to justice.

We will return the sense of safety and justice to Ukrainians and the assurance that Ukraine will always protect you in every corner of the planet.

* * *

As reported, Ukraine International Airlines plane (Flight PS752) heading from Tehran to Kyiv crashed shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport at about 06:00 Tehran time (04:30 Kyiv time) on Wednesday, January 8.

There were 176 people on board - 167 passengers (including two Ukrainians) and nine crew members (all Ukrainians). There were 82 citizens of Iran, 63 citizens of Canada, ten citizens of Sweden, four citizens of Afghanistan, three citizens of Germany, and three citizens of the UK.

Early today, Iran announced that it had shot down the UIA passenger plane accidentally.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani apologized for downing UIA passenger jet by Iranian military, calling the crash “disastrous mistake”.


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