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10.01.2020 Europe

Canadian and UK authorities blame Iranian missile strike for Ukrainian air disaster

By RFI
Nazanin Tabatabaee/WAN
LISTEN JAN 10, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 on board. Trudeau's British counterpart, Boris Johnson, said there is "a body of information" that the Ukrainian Boeing 747 was brought down by an Iranian missile.

Trudeau's comments came as images posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran's air defense batteries bringing down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in flames Wednesday.

Citing information from allies as well as Canada's own intelligence, the prime minister said the plane appeared to have been hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

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

The prime minister 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."

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.

Flight PS752 went down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran airport in the dark early Wednesday, 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.

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