Armed hijackers have taken control of a Ukrainian plane and flown it to Iran after it arrived in Afghanistan to evacuate Ukrainians.
"Last Sunday, our plane was hijacked by other people. On Tuesday, the plane was practically stolen from us, it flew into Iran with an unidentified group of passengers onboard instead of airlifting Ukrainians," Russian news agency TASS reported on Tuesday, citing Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Yevhenii Yenin.
"Our next three evacuation attempts were also not successful because our people could not get into the airport," he added.
The deputy minister did not comment on whether Kiev would seek to retrieve the hijacked aircraft.
A military transport plane with 83 people onboard including 31 Ukrainians arrived in Kiev from Afghanistan on Sunday. Ukraine's presidency reported that 12 Ukrainian military personnel returned home, while reporters and others who requested evacuation were returned.
Around 100 Ukrainians are still waiting to be evacuated, the presidency added.
However, Tehran and Kiev denied hijacking of any Ukrainian evacuation plane in Afghanistan, reports the Live Mint citing The Jerusalem Post.
The Iranian Civil Aviation Authority denied the report, saying that the plane refuelled in Mashhad and then flew to Kiev.
According to the RBC Ukraine news agency, Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied the report as well, saying "There are no captured Ukrainian planes in Kabul or elsewhere. The information about the 'captured plane' that is being circulated by some media outlets is not true."
Nikolenko clarified that Yenin was only generally explaining the unprecedented level of difficulties that diplomats had to face in evacuating Ukrainians.
It is unclear why Yenin said that plane was hijacked by armed persons and "actually stolen" if this was not the case, The Jerusalem Post added.