Justin Trudeau says intelligence indicates that an Iranian missile took down the Ukrainian Airlines flight with 63 Canadians on board

justin trudeau

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via Associated Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 8, 2020.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that intelligence shows that the plane crash that killed 63 Canadians was downed by an Iranian missile.
  • In total, all 176 people aboard the flight were killed in the crash. Media reports indicated Thursday that an Iranian surface-to-air missile likely downed the plane by accident.
  • Reporters grilled Trudeau on whether he blamed the United States or President Donald Trump for escalating tensions with Iran in the days and weeks leading up to the crash.
  • Trudeau said it was too early to assign blame, and repeated his demand for a "complete and credible investigation" into the deadly crash.
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that Canadian and allied intelligence has indicated that an Iranian missile shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on January 8.

At least 63 Canadians were on board the Boeing 737. Trudeau said at a press conference he was calling for a "complete and credible investigation" into the crash.Advertisement

Canada does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, but Trudeau said Iran has expressed "openness to Canadian involvement" when it comes to the investigation, though it wasn't yet clear to what degree.

"Canadian expertise when it comes to air tragedies … is world class," he said. "We have lots to contribute, and we have lost much."

But he added that Iran had refused to let the black boxes from the crashed plane outside Iran. Trudeau said he understood that the Ukrainian government will be given access to the black boxes.
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Reporters grilled Trudeau repeatedly on Thursday over whether he blamed the United States and President Donald Trump for escalating tensions with Iran by authorizing the initial strike against top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

Debris of a plane belonging to Ukraine International Airlines, that crashed after taking off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, is seen on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020.

Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Debris of a plane belonging to Ukraine International Airlines, that crashed after taking off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, is seen on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020.

American media outlets reported Thursday that an Iranian surface-to-air missile system likely downed the plane by accident, since its anti-aircraft systems were activated at the time of the crash. In total, 176 people were killed in the crash.Advertisement

But Trudeau avoided blaming Trump or the US, repeating his demand for a full investigation.

"I think it is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions," Trudeau said. "Recognizing that there is going to need to be a full and credible investigation into what happened before we draw conclusions."

The reporters also asked Trudeau about Trump's comments earlier on Thursday saying he did not believe the flight was downed as a result of a mechanical error.Advertisement

"It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood," Trump said. "Someone could have made a mistake."

Trudeau responded: "I'll let Mr. Trump's words stand for themselves."

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