Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has received intelligence indicating an Iranian missile mistakenly shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed near Tehran, killing all 176 on board including at least 63 Canadians.

A missile strike would mean that dozens of Canadians have become unintentional casualties of increased hostilities in the region between Washington and Tehran. This leaves Ottawa grappling with how to respond at home and abroad to the lethal fallout from a conflict being waged by its biggest ally.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence: The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters Thursday in Ottawa.

“This may well have been unintentional,” he added.

Mr. Trudeau described what he revealed as a “preliminary conclusion” based on intelligence and evidence "clear enough for me to share ... with Canadians right now.”

Coyne: If Iran did shoot down the plane, what can we do about it? Nothing

He said what Canada has learned to date “reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter.”

The majority of people on Wednesday’s flight – 138 – were heading to Canada, and at least 63 were Canadian citizens. Not since the Air India disaster of 1985, when 280 Canadians were killed, have so many Canadians died in an aviation disaster.

Mr. Trudeau said Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke with Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and requested access to Iran. Canada has no diplomatic representation in Iran.

Hundreds attended a pair of vigils Thursday night in Toronto to mark the lives lost in the crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran. The vigils at Mel Lastman Square and the North York Civic Centre saw candles and flowers placed beside photographs of those killed in the disaster. The Globe and Mail

“It’s more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened," Mr. Trudeau said. "The families of the victims, and all Canadians, want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice. This government will not rest until we get that.”

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was flying out of Tehran only hours after Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, retribution for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a senior Iranian commander in a Jan. 3 drone strike.

Mr. Trudeau was asked several times by reporters Thursday to address the possibility that Washington’s killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani triggered a chain of events that ended with the death of scores of Canadians.

Asked whether he feels that the United States is partly responsible for what happened, Mr. Trudeau said it’s not time to point fingers.

“I think it is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions. Right now, our focus is on supporting the families that are grieving right across the country and providing what answers we can in a preliminary way, but recognizing that there is going to need to be a full and credible investigation into what exactly happened before we draw any conclusions.”

Newsweek, CBS, CNN and The Guardian all reported Thursday that U.S. officials believe the flight was mistakenly shot down by Iranian anti-aircraft missiles.

These media outlets, citing officials at the Pentagon and in U.S. and Iraqi intelligence, reported that Iran had turned on its missile defence system to protect itself after it fired 22 missiles at American bases in Iraq. The system, however, apparently mistook Flight 752 for a threat and shot it down, the reports said.

In a statement to The Globe and Mail earlier Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said that Ukraine had not yet seen the evidence Western governments have showing Flight 752 may have been shot down. This was despite the fact that Mr. Zelensky spoke Thursday with both Mr. Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“If any country has information that can help conduct a transparent and objective investigation into the tragedy, we are ready to receive it and co-operate in further verification,” the Zelensky statement reads.

Reuters News Agency, citing one official who referred to an extensive review of satellite data, said the flight had been tracked by Iranian radar before it came under attack. The data showed the Boeing 737 bound for Kyiv was airborne for two minutes after departing Tehran when the heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected, an official who spoke to Reuters said. That was quickly followed by an explosion in the vicinity of the plane, the official said. Heat signature data then showed the plane on fire as it went down.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed U.S. official, reported that the two missiles fired from an Iranian mobile air defence system, the SA-15, are similar to the one that shot down a passenger jet over Eastern Ukraine in 2014.

SA-15 GAUNTLET

1

2

3.5 m

3

5.1 m

4

5

7.5 m

3.3 m

1

MISSILES

Warhead:

Speed:

Altitude:

Tracking:

15kg high explosive

Mach 2.8

6,000 metres

10 targets simultaneously

2

3

RADAR

Top mounted target acquisition radar

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight 9M330 or 9M331 missiles

4

5

RADAR

Frontal tracking radar

CREW

One

driver

Three

operators

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: 3D WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOGNITION.COM; GRAPHIC NEWS

SA-15 GAUNTLET

MISSILES

Warhead:

Speed:

Altitude:

Tracking:

15kg high explosive

Mach 2.8

6,000 metres

10 targets simultaneously

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight 9M330 or 9M331 missiles

RADAR

Top mounted target acquisition radar

3.5 m

5.1 m

RADAR

Frontal tracking radar

7.5 m

3.3 m

CREW

One

driver

Three

operators

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: 3D WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOGNITION.COM; GRAPHIC NEWS

SA-15 GAUNTLET

MISSILES

Warhead:

Speed:

Altitude:

Tracking:

15kg high explosive

Mach 2.8

6,000 metres

10 targets simultaneously

RADAR

Top mounted target acquisition radar

3.5 m

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight 9M330 or 9M331 missiles

5.1 m

RADAR

Frontal tracking radar

CREW

7.5 m

3.3 m

One

driver

Three

operators

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: 3D WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOGNITION.COM; GRAPHIC NEWS

Mr. Trudeau declined to elaborate on what intelligence he has received.

He said that while Iranian authorities have said they will be keeping the black box flight recorders in Iran, they have also indicated to Ukraine’s President that Ukrainian investigators will have access to the devices.

Mr. Trump suggested earlier in the day that Iran shot down the Ukrainian airliner. The President’s comments came amid media reports that U.S. officials believed an Iranian missile system accidentally downed the plane.

“I have my suspicions. I don’t want to say that because other people have those suspicions also ... somebody could have made a mistake on the other side,” Mr. Trump said at the White House.

Mr. Trump said he did not buy Iran’s contention that the crash was caused by engine failure.

“Some people say it was mechanical. Personally, I don’t think that’s even a question,” he said.

Earlier Thursday before Mr. Trudeau spoke, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization denied that the country had shot down the plane.

“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical,” Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted Ali Abedzadeh as saying.

Iran’s Minister of Road and Urban Development insisted to reporters in Tehran that only mechanical failure could explain the plane crash.

“There are rumours that a terrorist attack, explosion or shooting at the plane may have caused the incident, but they are not true. Technical failure has been the cause of the incident,” Mohammad Eslami said. “Had the rumours been true, the plane must have exploded up in the air, but that has not happened, because the plane caught fire due to technical failure. That first caused its communications and control systems to stop working, and subsequently resulted in the crash.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko, said his government has flown two planes with 45 technical specialists, including forensic and aviation experts, into Iran to assist with the investigation. He said Ukraine intends to share the black box information with Canada if it gets access to it.

Iran has said the plane’s black boxes − a flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder – were damaged. Such devices, however, are designed to survive crashes. According to the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment, which sets the standards for this equipment, black boxes are able to withstand hitting the ground at 500 kilometres an hour, 5,000 pounds of pressure and a 1,100 degree fire for 60 minutes.

With reports from Geoffrey York in Jerusalem, Nicolas Van Praet in Montreal, Reuters and The Canadian Press

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies