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US gives Ukraine 'important data' on Iran plane crash

AFP , Friday 10 Jan 2020
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US officials have given Kiev "important data" about the crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said Friday.

All 176 people on board died when Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 went down near Tehran on Wednesday, shortly after Iran launched missiles at US forces in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

American, British and Canadian officials say intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the plane, perhaps unintentionally, but this has been denied by Tehran.

"President Volodymyr Zelensky and I met with US representatives," Prystaiko said on Twitter. "We have received important data which will be processed by our experts."

Zelensky was due to speak to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the crash at 3 pm (1300 GMT), the minister added.

"The version of a missile is not ruled out, but it has not yet been confirmed," Zelensky said on his Facebook page.

He asked for Ukraine to be given all the information needed to conduct a thorough investigation.

"Our goal is to establish the undeniable truth," he said. "The value of human life is above all political motives."

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's national security and defence council, said Thursday that investigators were pursuing several leads, including a strike with a surface-to-air missile such as a Russian-made Tor, a collision with a drone, engine failure or a terror attack.

Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, which investigates aircraft incidents, said Friday that it was ready to assist in the probe but that Iran had not asked Moscow for help.

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