Ukraine-bound plane shot down over Iran

This item appears on page 18 of the March 2020 issue.

A Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran, Iran, to Kiev, Ukraine, was shot down shortly after takeoff on Jan. 8 when the Iranian military mistook it for a US military plane. Shortly before the incident, Iran had fired ballistic missiles at two US military bases in Iraq in retaliation for a US airstrike on Jan. 3 that killed one of its top generals and caused at least 50 injuries.

All 176 people on the plane were killed, the majority of whom were Iranian and Canadian. The Iranian government initially denied the plane had been shot down, blaming the crash on engine trouble, but when video evidence was shared, it admitted it was responsible.

After that, people took to the streets of Tehran to protest the government’s actions and initial response. A number of protesters were injured when police broke up a gathering in Azadi Square. A video was shared which some purported showed police firing live ammunition at protesters, but officials denied that any guns were fired.

After the downing of the plane, many international airlines announced that their planes would avoid Iranian airspace until further notice.