Berlin knew risk of flying above Ukraine before MH17 crash but did not inform airlines: Reports

FRANKFURT (AFP) - Berlin knew the risks of flying over war-torn east Ukraine before flight MH17 was shot out of the sky last year but did not inform German airlines, local media reported on Sunday.

Investigators are still trying to determine who was responsible for downing the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in July last year, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.

A diplomatic cable by Germany's Foreign Ministry a few days before the crash warned the situation in eastern Ukraine was "worrying", and a military plane was shot down in the same area at more than 6,000m altitude, broadcasters WDR and NDR said.

The day of the MH17 crash "three Lufthansa aircraft also flew over the area, including one only 20 minutes before Flight MH17", Suddeutsche Zeitung said in extracts of an article to be published on Monday.

Ukraine and the West have claimed that separatists shot down the plane using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia - a charge denied by Moscow and the rebels, who have in turn blamed Kiev.

The Dutch authorities are heading an investigation into the causes of the accident.

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