Iran admitted Saturday that it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error and “US adventurism” for the crash that left 176 people dead.
In a statement, the nation’s armed forces said it targeted the passenger plane unintentionally. It attributed the crash to radar activity and fear of US action.
Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 crashed Wednesday after takeoff from Tehran’s airport. The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops in retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
Here’s what we know:
- Surface-to-air missiles: The Ukrainian plane that crashed Wednesday was shot down by Iran with two Russian-made surface to air missiles, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence. The US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner before it was shot down.
- Canada grieves: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government expects the “full cooperation” of Iranian authorities in investigating the downing of the plane. Fifty-seven of the 176 people who were killed were Canadian nationals.
- Aircraft built in 2016: Ukraine International Airlines said in a statement that the plane was a Boeing 737-800 NG, “built in 2016 and delivered directly to the airline from the manufacturer.”
- Airline’s first crash: Ukraine International Airlines was founded in 1992 as the national flag carrier, one year after Ukraine got independence from Moscow. According to its website, the airline operates 42 aircraft, connects Ukraine to 38 countries, and its base hub is Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport. This is the first crash involving one of the carrier’s planes.
- Flights suspended: The country’s State Aviation Service has suspended all Ukrainian airline flights over Iran’s airspace starting midnight January 9, Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said in a Facebook post.