Iran initially blamed a technical fault before acknowledging in the face of mounting evidence that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had accidentally brought down the jetliner.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne, Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman hold a moment of silence ahead of a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group for the families of the victims of the Ukraine International flight, which crashed in Iran, at the High Commission of Canada in London, Britain on January 16, 2020.
Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne, Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman hold a moment of silence ahead of a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group for the families of the victims of the Ukraine International flight, which crashed in Iran, at the High Commission of Canada in London, Britain on January 16, 2020. (Reuters)

The governments of countries that lost citizens when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner are demanding Tehran accept “full responsibility” and pay compensation to the victims’ families.

The foreign ministers of Canada, the UK, Afghanistan, Sweden and Ukraine issued the statement on Thursday after a meeting at the Canadian High Commission on Trafalgar Square.

All 176 people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines plane died when it was hit by missiles last week shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Some 57 of the victims were Canadian citizens and 138 were flying to Canada. The dead also included 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens, as well as Iranians.

The five foreign ministers also said there must be “an independent criminal investigation followed by transparent and impartial judicial proceedings.

Iran initially blamed a technical fault before acknowledging in the face of mounting evidence that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had accidentally brought down the jetliner.

The downing of the plane came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States over the killing of Revolutionary Guard commander General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike. Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for his death.

American allies have avoided blaming the Trump administration, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the crash victims would be alive today if tensions had not escalated in the region.

"If there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families. This is something that happens when you have conflict and the war. Innocents bear the brunt of it," Trudeau told Global News Television this week.