Malaysian Airlines Confirms that it was Instructed to Fly MH17 at Lower Altitude over East Ukraine.
On the matter of MH17’s flight path, Malaysian Airlines confirms that the pilot was instructed to fly at a lower altitude by the Kiev air traffic control tower upon its entry into Ukraine airspace.
”MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.
However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.”
( For further details see press releases at : http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en/site/mh17.html)
33,000 feet is 1000 feet above the restricted flight altitude (see image below). The request of the Ukrainian air traffic control authorities was implemented.