Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne is pictured at headquarters in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada presses Iran to grant access to Ukrainian jet crash investigation

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke to his Iranian counterpart late last night, pressing him to grant Canadian officials immediate access to the site of the fatal Ukraine International Airlines plane crash that killed all 176 people aboard, including at least 63 Canadians.

Most of the passengers on the Kyiv-bound flight PS752, which crashed minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, were connecting to Canada, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

There were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians on board, along with 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British citizens, according to Ukrainian officials. But 138 of the passengers on the doomed flight were connecting to Canada.

Champagne and Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif exchanged condolences for the victims of the crash from both countries, according to the readout of the call released by Global Affairs Canada.

‘Canadians have many questions’

“Minister Champagne stressed the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash,” the readout said.

Canada’s efforts to offer consular services to the families of the victims and monitor the investigation are hampered by the fact that Ottawa cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2012 and shuttered its embassy in Iran.

Champagne said that “Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered,” according to the readout.

The rare phone call with Zarif came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the international community and Canada, in particular, to join the investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

It also came as Ukrainian officials announced that one of the hypotheses that they are looking at is the possibility that airplane was shot down accidentally by the Iranian military, which was on high alert after firing a salvo of short-range ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. and allied forces just hours before the plane went down.

Oleksiy Danylov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, said in a Facebook post that investigators are looking into possibility that the aircraft was struck by a Russian-made Tor anti-aircraft missile after unconfirmed reports that elements of the missile were spotted in the wreckage of the plane.

Other hypotheses include a collision with an unmanned drone, an engine explosion or terrorism, Danylov wrote on his Facebook page.

‘Too early to speculate’

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa alongside Trudeau on Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, a former Canadian astronaut, said preliminary analysis of satellite data suggest the aircraft took off normally, but officials lost contact with the flight almost immediately after.

That suggests “something very unusual happened,” he said.

Trudeau said he cannot rule out that the plane was shot down.

However, both Garneau and Trudeau said it would be inappropriate to speculate about the causes of the crash.

“It is too early to speculate,” Trudeau said. “I would encourage people not to speculate.”

Transport Canada Civil Aviation officials are in communication with safety and security partners including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Public Safety Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization, Frédérica Dupuis, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, told Radio Canada International.

“The department is also offering technical assistance and expertise to Ukraine officials in the areas of aircraft design (e.g. certification engineers and test pilots), maintenance (e.g. engineers and aircraft maintenance engineers) and flight operations (e.g. pilots) to assist in its investigation,” she said in an emailed statement.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) announced Wednesday that it has appointed an expert who will receive and review factual information released by Iran and monitor the progress of the investigation.

“The TSB remains available to provide any technical assistance requested by Iranian and Ukrainian accident investigation bodies,” the agency said Wednesday.

Categories: International, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *