New Delhi: A Ukrainian plane that arrived in Afghanistan to evacuate Ukrainians has been hijacked by unidentified people who flew it into Iran, said reports on Tuesday. Russian news agency TASS reported the incident citing Ukraine`s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin.
Confirming the development, Yevgeny Yenin said, “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.”
Tass, citing Yenin, further reported that the hijackers were heavily armed.
However, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister did not report anything about what happened to the plane or whether Kiev would seek to get it back or how the Ukrainian citizens got back from Kabul, onboard this “practically stolen” plane or another one sent by Kiev.
Yenin only underlined that the whole diplomatic service headed by Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba “had been working in the crash test mode” the whole week.
However, minutes later, both Kiev and Iran’s aviation chief denied reports of Ukrainian evacuation plane hijacking in Afghanistan. The spokesman of the Iranian aviation agency rejected the reports of Ukrainian airliner being hijacked and flown to Iran.
International media reports quoted Iran’s aviation chief as saying that the Ukrainian plane stopped in Mashhad last night for refuelling and then headed to Ukraine. “It’s now landed in Kiev,” he was cited as saying.
On Sunday, a military transport plane with 83 people onboard, including 31 Ukrainians, arrived from Afghanistan to Kiev.
The presidential office reported that 12 Ukrainian military personnel returned home, while foreign reporters and public figures who requested help were also evacuated.
The office also added that around 100 Ukrainians are still expecting evacuating in Afghanistan.