Canadians mourn victims of Ukrainian plane crash

Memorial services held in Toronto and Edmonton honoring passengers who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner last week.

Elad Benari,

Trudeau attends memorial service in Edmonton for victims of Ukrainian plane crash
Trudeau attends memorial service in Edmonton for victims of Ukrainian plane crash
Reuters

Hundreds of people on Sunday attended a memorial service in Toronto honoring the 176 passengers who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner last week.

The three-hour ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister Chrystia Freeland, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory and was held at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall, reported Global News.

Led by the Tirgan Organization, the presenters spoke through tears as they read out the names and bios of each victim.

“We have lost such incredible people,” said Freeland. “This is this university’s loss, this is Toronto loss, this is Ontario’s loss, this is Canada’s loss. Nothing will ever replace these brilliant lives that have been cut short. We will always have these scars. We will always bear these scars.”

Musical performances and videos played between impassioned speeches delivered by politicians and community members who mourned the victims and asked for justice and answers.

“I know the Iranian community is in pain right now, but I want you to know you are not alone,” said Ford. “The people of this province stand behind you, the nation and the world mourns with you. I know standing shoulder to shoulder with our federal government, we will bring these people to justice. The world will bring these people to justice.”

Flags at three of the University of Toronto’s campuses were lowered while the university offered sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the victims, reported CityNews.

The University confirmed that six students were on the plane at the time of the crash.

A second public memorial service was scheduled to be held in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance for the Edmonton memorial, saying he would "pursue justice and accountability" for what happened.

"This tragedy should have never occurred, and I want to assure you that you have my full support during this extraordinarily difficult time ... you give us purpose to pursue justice and accountability for you," said Trudeau, according to Reuters.

Canadian officials say 57 Canadians were confirmed to be on board the flight which crashed, with at least 138 passengers who were set to connect in Kiev on a flight back to Canada.

Iran initially denied having anything to do with the crash, but US officials said early on that the plane had been shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

On Saturday, Iran finally admitted that it had made a mistake and shot the Ukrainian plane after it flew too close to a sensitive military site and failed to respond to signals.

The crash came shortly after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US forces in retaliation for the US eliminating top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.




top