Friday, January 9, 2015 - 13:37
Government knew Ukraine airspace dangers
The Ukrainian government did inform the Dutch government about the dangerous situation in the country's airspace before Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down while flying near the Ukraine-Russia border. The Dutch government however did not pass the information forward to the airlines, according to several ministers' responses to parliamentary questions. Members of Parliament from opposition parties CDA and D66 have asked for clarification on the issue. Three days before the disaster, a Ukrainian cargo plane was shot down in Eastern-Ukraine. Until that point the government had assumed that the rebels could not shoot planes. The situation was explained by a Ukrainian government spokesperson to "diplomats from a wide group of friends". The purpose of the meeting was not to warn allies, but to get the support of the international community against Russia's interference in the conflict, according to the Dutch government. There never was a warning from the Dutch government to the airlines about the safety of Ukrainian airspace, answer Ministers Opstelten, Koenders and Hennis. However, the cabinet did point out that it was widely reported in the media that the Ukrainian Antonov cargo plane had been shot down, with updates as the incident happened. Some analysts have say the airspace should have been closed as early as May, two months before the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down.