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Kyiv Airport Monument Unveiled In Memory Of Victims Of Iran Plane Shoot-Down


People lay flowers at the new memorial to the victims of Flight PS752 at Boryspil airport.

KYIV -- Ukrainian officials have unveiled a monument at Kyiv's international airport to commemorate the victims of a Ukrainian airliner that was shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Tehran last month.

The Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-800 was shot down on January 8 just hours after Iran had launched a missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in response to the January 3 assassination of the IRGC's Quds Force commander, Major General Qasem Soleimani, by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

All 176 people aboard the civilian airliner were killed.

Tehran initially claimed the plane had crashed, but the IRGC admitted three days after the tragedy that Flight PS752 had been shot down "unintentionally" by the country’s air defenses.

A memorial stone with the inscription “PS 752, 08.01.2020” was unveiled on February 17 at Boryspil International Airport outside the Ukrainian capital.

The ceremony was attended by relatives of the victims, as well as by Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko, the secretary of the Ukrainian Security Service, Oleksiy Danilov, and UIA President Yevhen Dyhne.

Representatives of other countries which lost their citizens in the crash -- Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Germany, Iran, and Sweden -- were also present.

Addressing reporters, Prystayko said the investigation into the crash was still under way.

"The Prosecutor-General's Office addressed the Iranian side with a request to create a joint investigation group which will result in punishing all those guilty -- not only the person who pressed the button," he said.

Prystayko said several options are being looked at concerning the flight data recorders, which Iran has so far refused to hand over.

International agreements stipulate that Iran --without delay and in the shortest time period -- release the flight recorders for analysis, he added.

“We believe, and all five countries believe, this term has expired,” Prystayko said. “We need to move as fast as possible.”

France, he noted, has the technical capability to read the devices.

In an interview with NBC, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif admitted that Iran cannot analyze the flight recorder data alone.