Ukraine's President: Considering Several Possibilities Behind Iran Plane Crash

Iranian investigators said on Thursday that the airliner was on fire immediately before crashing

People stand near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, January 8, 2020.
ROHHOLLAH VADATI / ISNA / AFP

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the government was considering several possible causes of a plane crash in Iran, which killed 176 citizens of 7 countries.

The Ukraine International Airline jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday. Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, three Germans and three Britons.

Additionally, Ukrainian investigators want to search for possible debris of a Russian missile at the site of the Iran plane crash after seeing information about it on the internet, Oleksiy Danylov, the secretary of the national security council, said on Thursday.

Ukraine is looking at various possible causes of the crash of an Ukrainian airliner, including a possible missile attack, a collision, an engine explosion or terrorism, he wrote in a Facebook post.

Zelensky calls for calm

In a television statement Zelensky asked people to refrain from manipulation, speculation, conspiracy theories and hasty evaluations regarding Iran plane crash. He also declared Jan. 9 a day of national mourning.

Zelensky, who on Wednesday ended a visit to Oman, laid flowers at the airport of Boryspil, where the crashed plane was based.

"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," Zelensky said.

He said that he would speak by telephone with the Iranian president to step up cooperation in investigating the crash.

The cause of the disaster is still unknown. Ukraine's embassy in Iran on Wednesday dropped an initial reference to engine failure as the cause of the crash.

It said in a second statement that the causes had not been disclosed and that any previous comments were not official.

Iranian investigators said on Thursday that the airliner was on fire immediately before crashing.

The report, by Iran's civil aviation organisation, cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at high altitude as saying the jet was on fire while still aloft.