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Iran confirms two missiles shot at Ukraine airliner

January 21, 2020

Iran has released the first results of its investigation into the downing of a Ukraine International Airlines flight. All of the 176 passengers and crew on the flight were killed in the incident.

Wreck of Ukraine passenger airliner
Image: AFP/Irna/A. Tavakoli

The Iranian aviation authority confirmed on Tuesday that two missiles were shot at a Ukraine International Airlines flight earlier this month.

Investigators found that two Tor-M1 missiles were fired at flight PS752, according to an initial report.

It stopped short of blaming the Tor-M1 for the crash, stating "the impact of these missiles on the accident and the analysis of this action under is under investigation.''

The missiles were short-range, surface-to-air missiles developed by the former Soviet Union and designed to target aircraft or cruise missiles. Iran received 29 Tor-M1 units from Russia in 2017 in a contract worth an estimated $700 million (€630 million).

An Iranian Tor-M1 anti-aircraft defense system
Two Tor-M1 short-range surface-to-air missiles were fired at flight PS752Image: AFP/A. Kenare

Flight PS752 downed after takeoff

Flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran, en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. It was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.

Tehran initially claimed the flight had experienced engine failure, before three days later admitting that its military had shot down the plane due to "human error." The flight was mistaken for a "hostile target" amid heightened tensions with the US after its military killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani.

Iranian investigators reclaimed the flight's black boxes from the crash site. There has been uncertainty over whether Iranian authorities would send them to a country with the necessary technology to access vital data about the last moments of the flight.

kmm/rt (AFP/dpa)

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