CIA: Ukrainian Airlines crash not a missile strike?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a televised address, has asked people not to speculate or jump to hasty conclusions about the cause of a plane crash in Iran that killed all 176 people on board in Teheran, Iran yesterday.
At the same time, Ukraine’s embassy in Iran initially issued a statement ruling out terrorism or a rocket attack. But the statement was later removed from the embassy’s website and replaced with one saying it was too early to draw any conclusions.
The plane, a Boeing 737-800 operating by Ukraine International Airlines, took off from Iran’s capital, Tehran, early on Wednesday morning, bound for Kiev.
Six minutes after takeoff, the plane burst into flames and crashed.
Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, three Germans, and three Britons. Ukraine has declared January 9 a day of national mourning. “
Undoubtedly, the priority for Ukraine is to identify the causes of the plane crash. We will surely find out the truth. For this purpose, a thorough and independent investigation will be conducted in accordance with international law,” Zelenskiy said. According to an initial report by Iran’s civil aviation organization, witnesses on the ground and in an aircraft flying at high altitude said the Ukrainian jet was on fire while still in the air.
It also said that the plane had an unspecified technical problem shortly after takeoff and was headed to a nearby airport when it crashed. Because the crash occurred a short time after Iran launched missile attacks on bases housing US forces in Iraq, some speculated that the plane may have been hit.
However, unnamed security sources said that the CIA or other Western intelligence agencies had concluded that the crash was due to a technical malfunction, not a missile strike.
Iran has launched its own investigation and said today the pilot was trying to turn back to the airport when the Kyiv-bound flight crashed three minutes after takeoff.
But Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization offered no immediate explanation for the disaster.
Officials had previously hinted the plane may have suffered engine failure.
Three American sources, along with one European and one Canadian, told Reuters the initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction. There was evidence one of the Ukraine International Airlines jet’s engines had overheated, a Canadian source said.