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Ukraine president to speak to Rouhani over downing of plane

  • Published at 07:12 pm January 11th, 2020
UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT-PEACE-DIPLOMACY
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a ceremony welcoming Ukrainians, who were freed by pro-Russian rebels during a prisoner exchange, at the Boryspil airport outside Kiev on December 29, 2019 AFP

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the plane's downing

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was due to speak on the phone with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Saturday after Tehran admitted downing a Ukrainian airliner, officials said.

Zelensky scheduled a "telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for 1500 GMT," Zelensky's presidential press office said in a statement.

Tehran admitted Saturday that it accidentally downed the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane, killing all 176 people on board on Wednesday, shortly after launching missiles at bases hosting US forces in Iraq.

Rouhani said that Tehran "deeply regrets this disastrous mistake."

Tehran has now provided Ukrainian experts with enough data including "all the photos, videos and other materials" to show the probe into the downing of the passenger jet "will be carried out objectively and promptly," Zelensky's office said.

Zelensky earlier Saturday demanded that Iran provide "total access" to the full inquiry for Ukrainian aviation experts and security officials sent to investigate the crash on the president's request.

He also called for Tehran to punish those responsible for the accidental downing, pay compensation and apologise.  

Iran's downing of the plane comes after a Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014 with the loss of 296 people on board.

Investigators say a Russian-made BUK missile fired by pro-Russian separatists was to blame and the trial of four people over the crash is due to start in the Netherlands in March.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the plane's downing.

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