Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: UN aviation body denies closing Ukraine air route

A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Friday, July 18, 2014, denied it had closed an air route over e
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Friday, July 18, 2014, denied it had closed an air route over eastern Ukraine following the crash of a Malaysian airliner, saying it had no power to do so. -- PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (REUTERS) - The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Friday denied it had closed an air route over eastern Ukraine following the crash of a Malaysian airliner, saying it had no power to do so.

Malaysia's transport minister said earlier that the Montreal-based UN aviation body had shut the route after a Malaysia Airlines airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard.

"ICAO does not open or close routes. We do not have an operational role," chief ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin told Reuters by phone.

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