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 has reported.
Investigators are still trying to determine who was responsible for downing the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in July last year, killing all 298 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 6,000 metres altitude, broadcasters WDR and NDR said on Sunday.
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.
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. Dutch authorities are heading an investigation into the causes of the accident.
Meanwhile, OSCE observers said Monday they witnessed the most intense shelling in the flashpoint eastern Ukrainian village of Shyrokyne since fighting began there in mid-February, as well as movement of heavy weapons.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is helping to monitor a ceasefire, said that explosions 300 metres from one of its observation posts forced its personnel to change location.