Ukrainian authorities had “sufficient reason” to close the airspace over conflict-stricken eastern Ukraine before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, according to the findings of a Dutch investigation into the crash.
The Boeing 777 was heading from Amsterdam to Malaysia when it was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists. All 298 people aboard the aircraft died in the crash.
The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) took the lead in the crash investigation at the request of Ukraine, which remains locked in conflict with pro-Russian separatists in its eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Its report, released Tuesday, said MH17 crashed after a missile warhead exploded outside the cockpit.
The report said that between the end of April and July 17, 2014, Ukraine had reported that at least 16 of its forces’ helicopters and planes had been shot down.
“During the period in which the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine expanded into the airspace, neither Ukraine nor other states or international organisations issued any specific security warnings to civil aviation about the airspace above the eastern part of Ukraine,” the DSB said.
“The weapon systems mentioned by the Ukrainian authorities in relation to the shooting down of these aircraft can pose a risk to civil aeroplanes, because they are capable of reaching their cruising altitude. However, no measures were taken to protect civil aeroplanes against these weapon systems,” it said. –CNN