Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee has sternly criticized Iran after the latter, in a statement early on Saturday, admitted that the Ukrainian plane that crashed on January 8 was hit by a missile which was launched by Iran. A statement released by Iran's government said that it was "unintentional" and a "human error".
Soon after the confirmation, the Russian parliamentary committee stated that "Tehran must earn lessons" from the Ukraine plane disaster.
Russia has defended Iran over the last week, after the U.S. killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force on January 3. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over a phone call that it was an illegal power move and urged the U.S. to give up on Illegal military actions.
TASS news agency reported Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov stating that Russia believed there were no grounds to blame Iran for the crash of the passenger jet. The plane, PS 752, was shot down shortly after it had taken off from Tehran and was heading towards Kyiv.
Iran had earlier said that the plane crashed due to mechanical issues but later retracted that statement and said that it was considering all angles of investigation. Subsequent to US officials stating their suspicions that the plane had been brought down by Iran, the latter refuted these claims, even as it dithered over handing over the airliner's black-box, thereby raising further suspicions.
The statement released on Saturday morning read "While the plane was turning around, it went toward a sensitive military center of IRGC and it was at an altitude & in the shape of a hostile aircraft, in which the aircraft was inadvertently hit base on human error." The government also stated that action will be taken against those responsible.
The crash has caused a global outcry and several theories were floated behind the cause of the crash. Iran's government had earlier stated that the plane was not shot down by the missiles. Early investigations, however, pointed out that the plane was burning before it crashed into the ground.
Iran, on Wednesday, fired a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house American troops. A state-run news channel later claimed that the strikes killed “at least 80 terrorist U.S soldiers” and also damaged helicopters, drones, and other equipment at the Ain al-Asad airbase. US President Donald Trump, however, stated that no US soldiers were killed, and deemed it sufficient to only respond by issuing sanctions.
The escalation came days after the US killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force on January 3. The Trump administration said that they had received sufficient intelligence inputs regarding the threat posed by General Solemnanni and stood by the decision during multiple media interactions.