Ukrainian specialists continuing to look for material evidence after plane downing in Iran - Ukrainian PM
The Ukrainian government regards Iran's admission of responsibility for the January 8 downing of the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight near Tehran as an important step as part of the plane crash investigation, which is still continuing, Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
"This is an important step for the investigation, which is still continuing. Our experts are continuing to work at the scene of the tragedy in order to thoroughly investigate the reasons and establish the truth. Ukrainian specialists are continuing to look for material evidence linked with the tragedy," Honcharuk said.
Together with Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, Ukrainian specialists inspected the found black boxes from the downed plane and the place whether fragments of the plane debris are being stored, he said.
"The plane debris has been lined up in order to determine the completeness of the found parts of the Boeing 737-800," Honcharuk said.
Furthermore, DNA samples have already been collected from relatives of the crash victims and the bodies are being identified, he said.
"This morning [January 11], an electronic DNA formula was sent to our experts who are working at the scene of the tragedy in Tehran. We are working to complete the identification and promptly repatriate the bodies of the Ukrainian citizens killed [in the air crash]," he said.
Ukraine will do all it can to uncover all details of what happened and will extend support to the victims' families, he said.
Iranian media outlets said on Saturday morning, citing a statement issued by the General Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, that the Ukrainian Boeing had been shot down by the Iranian military by mistake.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet as a "great tragedy and unforgivable mistake."
"Armed Forces' internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people," Rouhani said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, said that Ukraine was expecting Iran to take full responsibility and carry out a thorough investigation.
The UIA flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv (Boeing 737-800) crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital on January 8. All 176 people on board were killed. They included eleven Ukrainians (including the nine crew members), 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons.