Tehran, Kiev Deny Hijacking Reports; Why Did Ukraine Say Armed People Took Its Plane to Iran?

Ukraine and Iran have denied the reports of hijacking of a plane, which was evacuating Ukrainians from Afghanistan.

Iranian Civil Aviation Authority Denies Report

Abas Aslani, Spokesman for the Civil Aviation Organisation of Iran, denied the claims. "This plane came to Mashhad airport (northeastern Iran) yesterday for refueling and after refueling, it left for Ukraine and arrived at Kiev airport at 21:50," he said, according to the Press TV.

Ukraine Takes a U-turn

After alleging that its evacuation plane was hijacked and flown to Iran, Ukraine has now retracted its claim.

According to the RBC Ukraine news agency, Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied the report as well, saying: "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 clarified that Yenin was only generally explaining the unprecedented level of difficulties that diplomats had to face in evacuating Ukrainians. 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.

What Were the Earlier Claims?

Earlier in the day, Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin claimed that a Ukrainian plane was hijacked by armed hijackers in Kabul and flown to Iran instead, reported Russian news agency TASS.

"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," Yenin reportedly said.