Members of the crew of the UIA Boeing, shot down by the air defense of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the skies over Tehran in January, were awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the corresponding decree No. 600/2020 on Tuesday, December 29.
“To confer the title of Hero of Ukraine with the award of the Order of the Golden Star (posthumously) to the crew members of flight PS752 of the Joint Stock Company“ Ukraine International Airlines ”,” the document says.
Three pilots and six flight attendants were posthumously assigned to the highest state award with the wording “for heroism and selfless actions while performing their official duty.”
The title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously) was awarded to:
- Gaponenko Vladimir Ivanovich – aircraft commander;
- Likhno Denis Mikhailovich – flight attendant;
- Matkov Igor Valerievich – senior flight attendant;
- Mikityuk Maria Mikhailovna – flight attendant;
- Naumkin Alexey Evgenievich – aircraft commander – pilot-instructor;
- Ovcharuk Valeria Evgenievnv – flight attendant;
- Sologub Yulia Nikolaevna – flight attendant;
- Statnik Ekaterina Olegovna – senior flight attendant;
- Khomenko Sergey Anatolyevich – co-pilot.
On the morning of January 8, a Boeing 737 of Ukraine International Airlines, flying from Tehran to Kyiv, crashed in Iran. The plane crash killed 11 Ukrainian citizens – two passengers and nine crew members. In addition to Ukrainians, there were citizens of Iran, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, and Afghanistan on board: a total of 176 people. Most of the passengers were Iranians or foreign nationals. Among them were many students and university staff.
At first, Iran denied any involvement in the crash, immediately reporting a technical malfunction of the 2016 Boeing 737 aircraft, which underwent maintenance the day before departure.
However, on January 11, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace forces, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, took full responsibility for the disaster. According to the official version, the civilian side was shot down by mistake.
Before that, US President Donald Trump, Canadian and British Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Boeing was attacked by Iranian air defense. Tehran rejected this version, accusing the United States of “psychological warfare.”