President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the Iranian side initially knew about the downing of a Ukrainian plane on January 8, and this is evidenced by a published recording of a conversation with a Tehran airport dispatcher.
“The release of a new record of communications between the Tehran ATC dispatcher and the pilot of the Iranian airline, who saw the missile launch and hit the UIA flight, proves that the Iranian side knew from the very beginning that the plane had been hit by a missile, they’d already known this at the time it was downed,” Zelensky noted in an interview with TSN.Tizhden aired on the 1 + 1 TV channel.
The head of state said that “thanks to the special services, we got a recording of the conversation between the Iranian dispatcher and the pilot of the Iranian plane as well.”
Zelensky emphasized that initially the version of the Iranian side that the catastrophe occurred due to a technical error was rejected by Ukraine.
“We knew this couldn’t be the case. I talked about this, maybe not so openly. But, when we came to see parents and relatives of all victims, I said there had been no crew error, that we know this for sure. We knew then this was a new jet and one of our best crews. We understood that the Iranians – we don’t know who exactly – sought to unlawfully defend themselves in such a way – to push in the media space the information that this had been a technical error. But we already had evidence that this couldn’t be the case,” the president said.
On the night immediately after the tragedy, a group of 45 Ukrainian experts was deployed in Iran.
“We were struck that on the first day they had no access anywhere. They couldn’t find many parts of the plane wreckage – there was no cockpit, no seats. And in such cases, by the seats it’s often possible to establish whether there was an explosion, since particles, parts of the device get stuck in soft tissue. It could have been a missile or something that could have penetrated the plane. The commission told us that there is a problem with the parts of the plane wreckage … We immediately received all this information from our experts,” the head of state added.
Ukrainian specialists did not have access to the control room or to any records.
As The Journalist reported, Iran releases investigation report on UIA plane crash.