Poland: 2010 crash of presidential plane deliberate

Polish national prosecutors point finger at Russia for deliberately causing crash which killed Polish president and 95 others in 2010.

Tal Polon ,

Airplane (illustrative)
Airplane (illustrative)
Thinkstock

Polish prosecutors claimed Monday that new evidence points to the fact that Russia deliberately caused the crash of a Polish plane in 2010 which killed then-Polish president Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 other top Polish officials.

The crash occurred after crew on the Polish plane tried to land in heavy fog at a rarely used airport near Smolensk, Russia. The plane clipped a tree while approaching the runway, resulting in the crash. The Russians claimed the plane should not have attempted a landing under those weather conditions.

According to Poland's National Prosecutor Marek Kuczynski, new evidence shows there is "no doubt" that one of the causes of the crash was the behavior of those in the control tower at the time of the crash. Similarly, Deputy Prosecutor Marek Pasionek said the two air traffic controllers at the scene were guilty of "deliberately causing an air traffic catastrophe," and that the third Russian official present was guilty of "assisting in deliberately causing a catastrophe."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claims, saying: “"the circumstances of this tragedy have been thoroughly studied, and we cannot agree with such conclusions."

Polish investigators said that they cannot reveal the evidence backing the claims until they are able to question the Russian officials who were present at the scene of the incident.

Although Polish and Russian investigations following the crash failed to conclude the presence of intentional wrongdoing in the incident, Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a former prime minister who now heads Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, has since claimed that the crash was the result of deliberate efforts “from the highest echelons of the Kremlin.”

It was previously reported that traces of explosives had been found on the fragments of the crashed plane.

The Chief Rabbi of Poland was supposed to have been on the plane accompanied by a Jewish delegation, but the group declined to go when told the flight was to take place on a Saturday, due to the strictures of Sabbath observance.

The victims were on the way to a Russian memorial service marking 70 years since the Soviet murder of 20,000 Poles. The Jewish delegation had planned to say Kaddish, the mourner's prayer, at the ceremony.



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