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Ukraine: ‘Justice Will be Done’ Even If Compensation For Airliner Shot Down By Iran Takes Ten Years

Achieving compensation for the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down in January 2020 by an Iranian missile battery might take at least five years, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin told Ukrainian 24 television on Wednesday [February 17]. “Sooner or later justice will be done and I am certain that everyone guilty will be tried and the Iranian side will pay compensation to families of victims, to the airline and to Ukraine,” Yenin said.

Ukrainian flight PS742 was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport early January 8, 2020, by missiles from a battery operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Tensions were high following Iran’s midnight missile attack on US bases in Iraq retaliating for the killing of its general, Qasem Soleimani, five days earlier in Baghdad. All 176 people aboard died, with most passengers were Iranian dual-nationals visiting their country of birth.

Ukraine and Canada, both with dozens of citizens and residents on board, have demanded that Iran conduct a transparent investigation and hold to account those responsible for firing the missiles.

After denying it had shot down the airliner, Iran after three days admitted human error. The authorities said a missile operator had been arrested, but there has been no public evidence of any thorough investigation, while Tehran dragged its feet in agreeing compensation.

In December the Iranian cabinet approved an offer of $150,000 to the families of survivors, which Ukraine rejected as inadequate. In his interview with Ukraine 24, Yenin said that while it was hard to foresee future events given “internal developments” in Iran, “sooner or later” compensation would “happen.”

In such instances if the parties to the dispute fail to work out a negotiated settlement, the dispute is referred to international arbitration. Yevhen predicted that negotiations in such cases can last five years and if the case goes to court then it can take 5-10 years to reach a resolution.

Some families have already sued Iran in Canadian and US courts, while others continue efforts in Iran.

The last round of talks between Kyiv and Tehran took place last October when Iran agreed to deliver more documents. In November Yenin said Ukraine had “not received any information from Iran, even the things that they promised to deliver to us urgently.” At that time, Yenin said negotiations would continue only when Iran supplied relevant evidence.

The shooting down of the airliner led to anti-government protests in Iran that were a public-relations nightmare for authorities just days after a huge turnout for Soleimani’s funeral ceremonies. Two months earlier the security forces had cracked down on the biggest nationwide demonstrations for decades, killing hundreds of people and arresting 8,000.

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