Media : Berlin did not warn of Ukraine flight dangers before #MH17 crash | News | DW.DE | 27.04.2015
The German government knew of the danger for airliners flying over Ukraine two days before MH17 was shot down, German media reported Monday, citing secret diplomatic cables from the country’s foreign office.
A team of journalists from regional public broadcasters WDR, NDR and daily newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) has been investigating the case of MH17, which went down over separatist-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed.
Two days before the catastrophe, Germany’s Foreign Office wrote that the situation in that area was “very worrying” because the previous day, July 14, a Ukrainian Antonov military cargo plane had been shot down from a height of more than 6,000 meters (19,600 feet). This lent the security situation in Ukraine’s airspace “a new quality,” the report said. The shooting down of a plane at this height was a clear signal to military experts that an aircraft flying at a much higher altitude could also be reached, meaning there was a danger to passenger planes.
According to WDR, NDR and SZ, this information was passed on several times by Germany’s intelligence services to the government - labeled with the government code “VS,” a lower-level secrecy classification only allowing access to verified individuals with a reason to know the information. It was not shared with the country’s airlines before the disaster.