Iranian president has apologized to his Ukrainian counterpart for “unintentionally” hitting the Ukrainian passenger plane early this week in which all 176 people onboard died, said a statement by the Ukrainian presidency.
Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy held a phone conversation initiated by the Iranian side, the statement said.
“The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran fully acknowledges that the tragedy was caused by the erroneous actions of the military of this state,” it said.
The statement stressed that Tehran assured “everyone involved in the disaster would be held accountable.”
"It is extremely important for us to return the bodies of the deceased to Ukraine next week - by January 19 - so that their relatives can bid a final farewell," Zelenskiy emphasized.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry will “immediately send a note to Iran with a clear list of all the next steps, including the legal aspects of the compensation issue,” the statement said, adding the Iranian party agrees with Ukraine on this issue.
Earlier, Iran admitted that Ukrainian aircraft was accidentally hit by an Iranian missile.
Last week, the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq’s capital Baghdad. In retaliation, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting the U.S. troops in Iraq on Jan. 8.