January 11, 2020 / 5:23 PM / 8 days ago

Ukraine president calls for plane crash perpetrators to be held accountable

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a ceremony to welcome Ukrainian citizens, who were exchanged during a prisoners of war (POWs) swap with the separatist self-proclaimed republics, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev, Ukraine December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that Iran’s acknowledgement that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane was a step in the right direction but wanted those responsible to be held to account.

“I insist on immediately completing identification of the bodies and their return to Ukraine,” Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter after speaking to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

“The perpetrators must be held accountable.”

Iran said on Saturday its military had shot down a Ukrainian plane killing all 176 aboard in a “disastrous mistake”, saying air defences were fired in error while on alert after Iranian missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq.

Reporting by Matthias Williams and Natalia Zinets; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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