Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin announced that a Ukrainian plane in Afghanistan for evacuations had been hijacked by armed militants and flown to Iran — a claim that was later denied by the country’s Foreign Ministry.
“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,” Yevgeny Yenin said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
“Our next three evacuation attempts were also not successful because our people could not get into the airport,” he added.
According to TASS, Yevgeny Yenin said the hijackers were armed.
“However, the 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 of this ‘practically stolen’ plane or another one sent by Kiev,” TASS reported.
A spokesman for Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization denied the reports, saying, “This plane came to Mashhad airport (northeastern Iran) yesterday for refueling and after refueling, it left for Ukraine and arrived at Kyiv airport at 21:50.”
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Ukraine’s Foreign Minister spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko also denied the reports.
Nikolenko said, “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 that Yevgeny Yenin was trying to explain the difficulties faced when evacuating Ukrainians, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“It is unclear why Yenin said that plane was hijacked by armed persons and ‘actually stolen’ if this was not the case,” The Jerusalem Post added.