Ministers deny knowing about threats to passenger planes over Ukraine

AANKOMST MH17 SLACHTOFFERS HILVERSUMThe Dutch government did not have any information about concrete threats to high-flying passenger aircraft above eastern Ukraine, ministers said in written answers to parliament on Tuesday.

The cabinet was responding to reports that diplomats were warned about the risks at a meeting, just days before Malaysian Airways flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, killing 298 people.

In their briefing, ministers said diplomats were told that an Antonov plane flying at a height of 6.2 kilometers had been shot down. However, flight MH17 was flying at over 10 kilometres, above the restricted zone, ministers said.

The cabinet has refused to publish a report on the diplomatic meeting, which was sent to the foreign affairs and defence ministries and in summary form to four others. It was not sent to the infrastructure ministry, which is responsible for aviation, Nos says.

A copy was also sent to the Dutch safety council OVV which is investigating the cause of the crash.

The meeting had not led to any airlines changing their routes, the cabinet briefing said. Those which did avoid eastern Ukraine, had done that since the unrest in Crimea in April, ministers claim.

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