04:38 GMT18 May 2021
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    MH17 Crash Investigation (261)

    Western governments knew the dangers of flying over eastern Ukraine before Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed but did nothing about it, German investigative journalists said.

    Correctiv, a non-profit German-language investigative newsroom, has won a partial court victory in its quest to find out what governments knew before the tragedy.

    The Administrative Court in Berlin this week partly upheld Correctiv's right to know and ordered the German foreign office to disclose facts the office had withheld, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper wrote on Sunday.

    During a July 14, 2014 briefing Ukrainian officials told Western ambassadors that Russian tank units had intervened in the conflict resulting in a dramatic escalation in air combat.

    Three days later flight MH17 plunged to the ground, killing all 298 on board.

    But the doomed flight was one of hundreds that crossed the crisis zone that week because changing course would result in longer flying times and increase airlines' fuel costs.

    The German foreign office has said that civilian flights over eastern Ukraine and their safety were not discussed at the July 14 briefing.

    However, Correctiv says it has a copy of a report on the briefing by Dutch diplomat Gerrie Willems that contradicts the office's claim and insists that the staff of the embassies of the European Union member states, the United States, Canada, Brazil and Japan actually attended the briefing.

    Although there is no specific mention of civil aviation, the Willems' report refers to the escalation in aerial combat.

    "This escalation meant automatically that civil aviation was at risk. According to our investigation, the German ambassador to Ukraine, Christof Weil, passed this information on to the foreign office," the report said.

    The German foreign office had refused to release information about the briefing, arguing it had been confidential and that all those attending had acknowledged this.

    The Administrative Court has now ordered the foreign office to tell Correctiv whether Ambassador Weil did write a report on the briefing and when the office told the Chancellor's Office and the German Defense Ministry about the content of the Weil report.

    "We want to know why thousands of people were at risk and why no warning was issued because that was the duty of the foreign office: to warn the airlines and through them all travelers of the dangers over eastern Ukraine,” the Correctiv’s report said in conclusion.

    MH17 Crash Investigation (261)


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    MH17, flight security, report, MH17 Crash, Berlin Administrative Court, Correctiv, Christof Weil, Gerrie Willems, Russia, Ukraine, Germany
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