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ICAO issued warning in April over potentially unsafe situation in Crimea area

MONTREAL - The United Nations body that governs civil aviation says it issued a warning three months ago about flying over the Crimea region in eastern Europe.

ICAO issued a letter to its member states on April 2 advising of a potentially unsafe situation because of the presence of more than one air traffic services provider in the Simferopol area.

Both Russia and Ukraine are apparently offering services in the region and there was concern the situation could lead to safety issues because it could mean two sets of instructions being sent to an aircraft.

ICAO issued a statement Thursday stressing that the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 occurred outside of the Simferopol region.

The neighbouring air traffic control region where the passenger plane came down was believed to be under the control of Ukraine.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak said the jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down and that the flight route had been declared safe by ICAO.

An ICAO spokesman said there would be no comment on Razak's remark.

Razak also said the International Air Transport Association, which represents airlines worldwide, had also stated that the air space the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

The Federal Aviation Administration had warned U.S. pilots earlier this year not to fly over portions of Ukraine in the Crimea region, according to notices posted on the agency's website.

The notices were posted on April 23. Aviation authorities in most countries issue similar notices for areas where unrest or military conflict creates a risk of being shot down.

— With files from The Associated Press

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