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Iran rejects hijacking, says Ukrainian plane flew back to Kiev

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows crowds at the northern gate of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan on August 23, 2021. (Via AFP)

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization has dismissed reports that a Ukrainian aircraft was hijacked in Afghanistan and diverted to Iranian soil, saying Tehran has documented the plane’s landing at Kiev’s airport.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin alleged on Tuesday that a Ukrainian plane evacuating Ukrainians from Afghanistan had been hijacked by unidentified armed individuals, who flew it into Iran.

“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,” he was quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency as saying.

The spokesman of Iran’s civil aviation body, however, rejected the claim and explained that the plane had landed at the airport at the Iranian city of Mashhad for refueling and then flew back to Kiev, landing there at 09:50 p.m. Tehran time.

“The Civil Aviation Organization categorically rejects the issue of hijacking and disappearance of the plane,” said Mohammad-Hassan Zibakhsh.

The Organization, he said, would later provide documents on the aircraft’s landing in Ukraine’s capital.

Ukraine denies hijacking report as well

Later on, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry itself denied the report, with its spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, saying, “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.”

Nikolenko said Yenin was only generally explaining the unprecedented level of difficulties that diplomats had to face in evacuating Ukrainians, according to the RBC Ukraine news agency.

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