Iranian forces were 'overreacting' when they shot down Ukrainian jet

13 January 2020, 07:59

The jet was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile
The jet was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A senior Ukrainian minister said he has discussed compensation for the families of those who died on the passenger jet shot down by the Iranian military.

The news comes days after Iran admitted it unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian aircraft which crashed near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, including four Brits.

The Iranian government had previously denied accusations that it was responsible, but President Hassan Rouhani has now said missiles were fired "due to human error" and described it as "unforgivable" and a "disastrous mistake".

Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC on Monday: "We had a conversation with the Iranian president when he tried to do his best at explaining that this was a human error, that no one who is to (blame) will escape punishment.

"This is great to hear but we also discussed all the political repercussions and problems, and compensation to the victims of the plane."

He said talks would occur this week to work out how to "repay those families who have suffered".

Mr Prystaiko said President Hassan Rouhani admitted those guarding Iranian bases near Tehran "were overreacting" when they shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Wednesday, due to mounting tensions with the US.

But he said that "at the highest level, they are taking responsibility".

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said Iran's admission it shot down the plane by mistake "reinforces the importance of de-escalating tensions in the region".

In a statement, the Prime Minister said: "Iran's admission that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by mistake by its own armed forces is an important first step.

"This will be an incredibly difficult time for all those families who lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances. We will do everything we can to support the families of the four British victims and ensure they get the answers and closure they deserve.

"We now need a comprehensive, transparent and independent international investigation and the repatriation of those who died. The UK will work closely with Canada, Ukraine and our other international partners affected by this accident to ensure this happens.

"This tragic accident only reinforces the importance of de-escalating tensions in the region. We can all see very clearly that further conflict will only lead to more loss and tragedy. It is vital that all leaders now pursue a diplomatic way forward."