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IRANIAN TRAGEDY: TRIALS FOR UKRAINE AND THE WORLD | Vitaliy Portnykov

You also can read this article in Ukrainian by following the link |


New Year started for Ukraine with a tragedy that was hard to predict: the plane of the International Airlines of Ukraine, whose passengers were citizens of many countries of the world, but first of all, Canadians returning home via Kyiv's Boryspil Airport, was shot down over the Tehran Airport. The crash of the plane came at a time of a serious escalation between the United States and Iran, when the Ayatollahs’ regime responded to Washington's elimination of General Soleimani, one of the leaders of the paramilitary "Guard of the Islamic Revolution", the most important unit of armed support for the authoritarian regime. Almost immediately it turned out that it was the heads of the odious "Corps of Guards" who were directly responsible for the crash of the Ukrainian liner, that it was not an aviation catastrophe, but the destruction of the plane by a rocket, as they say in Tehran - erroneous.


Just like a few months ago, when the release of information about a telephone conversation between the Presidents of the United States and Ukraine led to the loudest political scandal in American history, Ukraine is now at the center of a major international crisis. However, the reaction of its leaders to the tragedy cannot fail to impress. Even when Western intelligence officials cited intelligence information that the plane had been destroyed by the Iranian air defense system, President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials questioned the version and agreed to it only after Iranian head of state Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed it. However, in Kyiv they began to claim that they knew from the very beginning what had actually happened, but did not want to release the information until it was confirmed from Tehran. It seems that the leadership of Ukraine was not ready at all for Iran to admit its guilt and was not going to agree with the version of Iranian involvement if it was not recognized by the leadership of the Islamic Republic - and this is because at stake was not only the investigation and punishment of the guilty, but also the reputation of the International Airlines of Ukraine - a company owned by the unofficially crowned king of the state, Ihor Kolomoyskyi.


The reasons for Zelensky and his surrounding’s behavior remain unclear, and we can only look at versions of such a remarkable reaction from the Ukrainian president. Some observers habitually talk about the incompetence of the new head of state, his sincere misunderstanding of the level of challenges he faced after his unexpected election to the post of president. And here it is possible to draw a parallel with another random person headed by the post-Soviet country - Vladimir Putin, who in 1999 was only - quite unexpectedly for himself - proclaimed the heir of President Boris Yeltsin, and in early 2000 the tragedy of the Kursk submarine had already taken place. And Putin, a former KGB agent, was just as unprepared for this ordeal as Zelensky was for the Boeing tragedy. Even more! He did not immediately interrupt holidays, made contradictory statements, and became the subject of shattering criticism of the media. And by the way, the era of Putin's authoritarianism began from the history of Kursk, because the Russian president drew his conclusions and began to establish total control over the media and society. Let's see what conclusions Zelensky makes.


But there is another version, rather conspiratorial. Its supporters believe that the case is not in Iran, but in Russia. That President Zelensky had visited Oman on an eve of the tragedy not on vacation and definitely not on a working visit - because during his stay Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said was on his deathbed and died just a few days after Zelensky's return to Kyiv. So, in Oman - to be honest - there was a vacuum of power and there was no one to talk to. However, during the days of Zelensky's visit to the Sultanate, Russian charters with unknown passengers arrived there, there was an aide to (Ukrainian – red.) President Andriy Yermak, who is considered to be the curator of the Russian direction in the office of the president and the negotiating partner of the odious Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, the author of several shameful special forces operations. And, to agree with such an interpretation of events, it can be concluded that in Kyiv they simply did not want to cause unnecessary trouble to the administration of President Vladimir Putin, this ally of the Iranian regime and the supplier of his deadly weapons. After all, the investigation into the crush of the plane - if it had started on time and Tehran had not been able to begin the process of destruction of evidence, could well lead to the manufacturer of the rocket and its personnel, which - given the peculiarities of cooperation between Moscow and Tehran - could lead to completely different perpetrators of the criminal order, instead of those who are now being charged and arrested in Iran. And Vladimir Putin, as we understand it, has had enough of a Malaysian aircraft destroyed by his military over the Donbas in 2014.


But all these assumptions do not yet have any real grounds. Perhaps, only with time, after the change of power in Tehran and Kyiv (and it would be nice if also in Moscow), we will be able to understand what really happened. For now, we can only say that after the election of Volodymyr Zelensky as president, Ukraine falls from one major crisis to another, and for the new government it is difficult enough to respond to these challenges professionally and adequately.