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Bodies of Ukrainians killed in Iran plane crash repatriated

World News | Published:

They were among 176 people killed on January 8.

Honour guards carry the coffin of one of 11 victims at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv

The bodies of the 11 Ukrainians who died when an Iranian missile shot down a passenger plane have arrived in Ukraine for a farewell ceremony.

They were among the 176 people killed on January 8 when a Ukrainian Airlines plane heading to Kyiv was brought down shortly after takeoff from Tehran.

Iran acknowledged three days later that the plane was mistakenly hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

The repatriation ceremony at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv
The repatriation ceremony at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

On Sunday, the bodies were brought to Boryspil Airport in Kyiv aboard a Ukrainian air force plane.

An honour guard solemnly carried the coffins into the airport terminal, where they are to stand until the evening for mourners to pay their respects.

Nine of the Ukrainians who died were crew members on the Boeing 737-800.

Iran admitted to shooting down the plane only after officials in several Western countries said they had evidence a missile caused the catastrophe.

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Iran’s initial claims that engine failure brought down the plane angered Ukrainians, who also say the country should pay compensation and should be more forthcoming about the circumstances.

“Iran should not behave like an adolescent … it needs to answer for its irresponsible actions and the deaths of people,” said Tatyana Krivonos, a mourner at the airport.

The crash occurred just hours after Iran fired missiles at a base in Iraq where US troops are stationed, in retaliation for American drones killing Iran’s most powerful general.

Iran has been widely criticised for not closing its airspace in the tense conditions.

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