Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Expects Bodies From Downed Airliner To Return This Week

Ukraine hopes to repatriate the bodies of the 11 Ukrainians who were killed aboard Flight PS752 in Iran by the end of this week.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said over the weekend that he would like for the bodies to return home “by January 19” so that their relatives can “say goodbye to them,” according to a statement on the presidential website.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov told the Ukrainian Service of the BBC that the 11 bodies most likely would return at a later date.

“Thirty percent of the bodies are identified,” Danilov said. “Around January 20-21, they’ll come back to Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian-flagged commercial airliner was shot down by the Iranian military on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

Three days after tragedy, Tehran said the aircraft was mistakenly shot down.

Nine of the Ukrainians on board were crew members and two were passengers.

Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the aerospace division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said on January 11 that his unit accepts “full responsibility” for the tragedy.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his “deep sympathy” to the families of the 176 victims and called on the armed forces to “pursue probable shortcomings and guilt in the painful incident.”

Nearly half of those killed were Iranian citizens while many others were ethnic Iranians living in other countries.

Based on reporting by the BBC
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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