Ukraine Says Coronavirus Disrupts Talks With Iran on Plane Crash Probe: Interfax

KIEV, March 2 (Reuters) – The coronavirus outbreak has interrupted talks between Ukraine and Iran on the investigation into the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka was quoted by Interfax Ukraine as saying on Monday.

The Ukraine International Airlines plane was accidentally shot down by Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards in January, killing 176 people. Ukraine has pressed Iran to hand over the black box from the flight, which Tehran has so far resisted.

Iran Says Its Military Shot Down Ukrainian Passenger Plane in Error

Iran has the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, where the outbreak began. The government said 66 people have died and more than 1,500 have been infected.

“There was communication with Iranian law enforcement agencies … but, unfortunately, due to the coronavirus epidemic, consultations were postponed for a certain amount of time,” Ryaboshapka told reporters.

“As soon as the situation improves slightly, we will resume consultations and will directly communicate with our Iranian colleagues,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

(Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alex Richardson)