Iran Denies Report Ukrainian Plane Hijacked in Afghanistan
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran on Tuesday denied reports that a Ukrainian plane that was evacuating Ukrainians from Afghanistan on Sunday was hijacked by armed hijackers and flown to Iran.
The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization denied the report, saying that the plane refueled in Mashhad and then flew to Kiev.
“The plane refueled yesterday in Mashhad and went to Kiev and based on our monitoring, landed in Kiev at 10:10 pm. Therefore, the issue of hijacking is denied,” Spokesman of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAOI) Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said on Tuesday, adding that documents related to the plane’s landing in Kiev airport will be released soon.
Also, Mahmoud Amani Bani, the director-general of Iran’s Mashhad airport, denied reports that a Ukrainian plane flying from Kabul to Kiev had been hijacked in Iran.
The hijack reports came after Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Yevhenii Yenin claimed in an interview with the Ukrainian Hromadske Radio on Tuesday that "last Sunday, our plane was hijacked by other people. On Tuesday, the plane was practically stolen from us. It flew into Iran with an unidentified group of passengers onboard instead of airlifting Ukrainians. Our next three evacuation attempts were also not successful because our people could not get into the airport”.
After his comments, Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian foreign ministry, denied the report as well, saying that "there are no captured Ukrainian planes in Kabul or elsewhere. The information about the 'captured plane' that is being circulated by some media outlets is not true”, according to the RBC Ukraine news agency.
Nikolenko clarified that Yenin was only generally explaining the unprecedented level of difficulties that diplomats had to face in evacuating Ukrainians. It is unclear why Yenin said that plane was hijacked by armed persons and "actually stolen" if this was not the case.