KYIV -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has rejected reports that a Ukrainian plane was hijacked by unknown people from Kabul airport and flown to Iran.
Some media reports on August 23 quoted Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin as saying that unknown individuals hijacked a Ukrainian plane and diverted it to Iran.
However, ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko told RFE/RL on August 24 that "no Ukrainian plane was captured in Kabul or elsewhere."
"The information about a ‘hijacked plane,’ which was circulated by some media, is not true. All aircraft that our nation has used to evacuate our citizens from Afghanistan have returned safely to Ukraine," Nikolenko said, stressing that in all, Ukraine brought 256 people from Afghanistan to Kyiv via three flights.
"Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin generally explained the unprecedented level of difficulties that our diplomats are facing while evacuating Ukrainians. We must understand that the situation at the [Kabul] airport is close to chaos," Nikolenko added.
Iran's Civil Aviation Authority has also denied the report, saying that the Kyiv-bound plane refueled in the Iranian city of Mashhad during its journey from Kabul to the Ukrainian capital.
According to Nikolenko, there are still about 50 more Ukrainian citizens in Kabul who are seeking to return home.
The media reports of the hijacking raised fears among many Ukrainians who are wary of Iran after a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down in January 2020 by a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps shortly after taking off from Tehran. All 176 people on board the plane died in the incident.