Russia allows Poland to examine wreckage of crashed president Kaczynski’s plane
Polish investigators will arrive in Russia in early September to inspect the debris of the Tu-154M plane, which crashed near Smolensk in 2010, killing Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and other top officials.
Warsaw’s appeal to examine the wreckage of the presidential aircraft has been satisfied, Svetlana Petrenko, Russia’s Investigative Committee spokeswoman, has said.
The “accessories, subassemblies and structural elements of the Tu-154M, stored in Smolensk,” will be additionally inspected by the Russian criminalists in the presence of the Polish representatives between September 3 and 7, she added. The results of the inquiry will then be passed on to Warsaw in accordance with the legal procedures, Petrenko added.
On April 10, 2010, a Tu-154M plane with 96 people aboard, including President Kaczynski and his wife, senior Polish military commanders and lawmakers crashed shortly before landing on an airfield in city of Smolensk, some 360 kilometers south-west of Moscow.
The high-profile delegation was traveling to attend a ceremony to commemorate the victims of 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which thousands of Polish officers were slaughtered.
Poland has carried out an investigation of the 2010 tragedy, which revealed negligence in the Polish Air Force training program and ruled that the decisions made aboard the plane led to the deadly crash.
The transcript from aboard indicated that a senior official was present in the cockpit and pressured the pilots to perform the landing on the instructions of President Kaczynski despite the dangerous weather conditions.
The 2011 report, prepared under the government of then-Prime Minister and current European Council president, Donald Tusk, stated that that aircraft collided with a tall birch tree several hundred meters short of reaching the runway as it was flying below the allowed altitude with no vision of the land due to the thick fog.
However, the rightist Law and Justice Party (PiS) of Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslav, was outraged with such a conclusion and blamed Tusk of colluding with Moscow. When PiS came to power in 2015, it swiftly launched its own investigation into the Smolensk crash.
Warsaw now claims that Kaczynski’s plane caught fire and started falling apart mid-air and suggests that Moscow should accept responsibility for the tragedy. However, no convincing proof of the allegations has yet been presented.
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