In perhaps the most alarming recent signal portending escalation is coming over the renewed Ukraine crisis, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a deeply disconcerting warning telling airlines to review "flight risks" posed over parts of eastern Ukraine. The updated notification was issued over this past weekend.
The FAA specifically cited heightened safety issues and commercial aviation "flight risks" due to the recent flare-up in tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border, where the Kremlin in recent weeks has built-up thousands of extra troops.
According to the aviation monitoring site Air Live, "The FAA warned the airlines to review the current threat and provide at least 72-hours advance notice of the scheduled flights over the airspace covering the Russian-Ukraine border."
The FAA alert further mentioned the potential for a "no-notice cross-border conflict and increased military activities." It notified additionally:
Operators are asked to exercise extreme caution while flying over Dnipro, Simferopol, Kyiv, Moscow and Rostov-na Donu Flight Information Regions.
The FAA further advised against flying over particularly tense hotpots along Ukraine's eastern border, namely the war-racked Donbass region, in continuation with an already existing FAA ban. Here are further details:
The FAA’s previous warning for Ukraine, as per SFAR 113, remains in place – US operators are banned from overflying the eastern part of the UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIR due to a continued threat of arms fire in the region. Essentially, everything east of ABDAR–M853–NIKAD–N604–GOBUN is prohibited. Airways M853 and N604 are off-limits as well. Flights to UKHH/Kharkiv, UKDD/Dnipropetrovsk and UKDE/Zaporizhzhia airports are permitted.
While it remains unclear if US aviation authorities are acting on specific intelligence portending heightened military action is imminent, there's little doubt that fears are growing of another possible MH17 plane crash disaster scenario amid this month's renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine.
FAA issues warning for flights in Russia-Ukraine border airspace due to escalating regional tensions: https://t.co/VPUoypQr4j— Aviation Safety Network (ASN) (@AviationSafety) April 17, 2021
During that horrendous July 17, 2014 tragedy it's believed that the commercial jet was "mistaken" for a military plane by one of the warring parties below.
All 283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members on board were killed. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which had been en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was found to have been downed by a Russian-made Buk missile.
A subsequent Dutch-led investigation pointed the finger at Russian-backed separatists (the US and other Western allies also widely accused pro-Russian forces), while the Kremlin countered with allegations that the Ukrainian side did it.