Canadian PM Justin Trudeau blames downing of Ukraine jet on US ‘escalation’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday appeared to cast blame on President Trump and the US for the downing by Iran of a Ukrainian jetliner that was allowed to take off from Tehran following an Iranian airstrike on US troops in Iraq just hours earlier.

“I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau told Global News television.

All 176 people – including 57 Canadians — aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 were killed when the Revolutionary Guard mistakenly fired a missile at the Boeing 737 just after takeoff from Tehran.

“This is something that happens when you have conflict and war. Innocents bear the brunt of it and it is a reminder why all of us need to work so hard on de-escalation, moving forward to reduce tensions and find a pathway that doesn’t involve further conflict and killing,” Trudeau continued, appearing to reference Trump’s order of a drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 2.

His remarks come ahead of a meeting being hosted by Canada on Thursday in London in which members of the International Coordination and Response Group plan to look at ways to demand justice.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said Monday that Iranian officials have invited it to participate in analysis of the voice and flight data recorders.

“I think full admission, acknowledgment of responsibility and some form of compensation is going to have to come,” said Trudeau, who has faced questions about whether he believes Trump bears some responsibility for disaster.

Justin Trudeau attends a memorial service at the University of Alberta for the victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane.

The shootdown came just hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at two bases housing US troops in response to Trump’s order to kill the revered Iranian general, who commanded the elite Quds Force and led Iran’s campaign to expand influence across the Middle East.

The Canadian leader said he has spoken to Trump about the doomed flight.

“I’ve talked about the tremendous grief and loss that Canadians are feeling and the need for clear answers on how this happened and how we’re going to make sure it never happens again,” Trudeau said.

He added that he would have “obviously” liked a warning before Trump ordered Soleimani’s killing. Canada has troops in Iraq as part of a NATO training mission.

Soleimani’s death sparked widespread protests in Iraq and Iran against the US — but within days, the demonstrations targeted Tehran for downing the aircraft, which was carrying more than 80 Iranians.

Iranian police have reportedly begun using live ammo to break up the protests.

Trudeau cited the “hurt” and “frustration” of victims’ families in Iran and said the demonstrations “should be heeded very carefully by the Iranian government.”

But he said he was now focused on the Canadian victims, even as it could be “weeks, perhaps even months” before their bodies are repatriated for burial.

“The grief they’re going through is not to be consoled right now. They want answers, they’ve expressed anger and outrage and also immeasurable pain,” he said.

“I am hurt like all Canadians. I am angry like all Canadians. But unlike many people I have a job to do that will be able to help these families directly. Getting answers for them is my entire focus right now.”


Source: New York Post

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