Ukraine has now retracted its previous claim that its evacuation aircraft had been hijacked in Afghanistan and flown to Iran.
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, refuted media claims, stating ”
Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Yenin, had previously said that a Ukrainian aircraft that had landed in Afghanistan to evacuate trapped Ukrainians had been kidnapped.
The foreign ministry spokesman explained that Yenin was referring to the unprecedented difficulty ambassadors are having in evacuating Ukrainians from Afghanistan.
“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 was quoted as saying by the Russian Tass news agency.
Yevgeny Yenin had said that the hijackers were armed.
Since the Taliban seized over Kabul last week, neither the US nor NATO authorities in charge of the Hamid Karzai International Airport have confirmed the incident.
The Ukrainian deputy minister made no mention of what happened to the aircraft, if Kiev will try to recover it, or how Ukrainian people returned from Kabul, whether on this “practically stolen” plane or another one sent by Kiev.
“The whole diplomatic service headed by Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba had been working in the crash test mode the whole week,” the minister added.
The Iranian aviation authorities, on the other hand, have denied media claims of aircraft hijacking.