The governments of Ukraine and Iran are asking the United States and other Western countries to provide evidence that a Ukrainian jetliner that recently crashed in Iran had been shot down by Iranian forces.
Footage which emerged last night purports to show the Ukraine International Airlines jet exploding in mid-air after it was hit, killing all 176 people on board.
American, Canadian and British officials told the Associated Press and other media Thursday that it was “highly likely” that an anti-aircraft missile fired by Iranian military forces downed the Ukrainian passenger jet late Tuesday just minutes after it took off from Tehran for Kyiv, killing all 176 people on board.
The crash came when tensions between the U.S. and Iran reached a fever pitch, just hours after Iran fired almost two dozen missiles at Iraqi airbases that house American troops in response to the U.S. drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that it “cannot be ruled out but is not currently confirmed” that a missile downed the plane.
The New York Times reported that Zelensky had met Friday with U.S. Embassy officials in Kyiv and received “important data that will be studied by our specialists.” He would also speak with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday morning, the Times reported.
Iranian officials, meanwhile, denied Western intelligence allegations that the Iranian military had downed the plane. The Associated Press reported Friday morning that Iran demanded that U.S. and Canadian officials share any information they have on the crash.
“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national aviation department, said at a news conference, the AP reported.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “we have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence … that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”
At least 60 Canadians were on board the plane, according to the AP.
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