Russia responsible for crash that killed president: Polish defence minister
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's defence minister has said that Russia was responsible for a plane crash that killed the Polish president in 2010.
Photo: The crashed Polish presidential plane near Smolensk, western Russia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Bartosz Staszewski, PRS Team.net. (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz also said the Polish presidential plane which crashed near the western Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, 2010, was destroyed by "two explosions."
Macierewicz was reacting to comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin who, at his annual end-of-year news conference on Thursday, denied previous Polish suggestions that the presidential plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion.
Macierewicz said in a Thursday interview with Polish Radio 24: “Coming from the mouth of the leader a country that is responsible for... the Smolensk tragedy, such words are really shocking.”
Macierewicz added that Putin “should have the courage to take responsibility for what happened.”
Putin said at his end-of-year news conference he was tired of hearing allegations from Warsaw that the 2010 air crash was the result of a Russian conspiracy, according to the Reuters news agency.
Putin also suggested that "political insinuations" could further complicate Russian-Polish relations.
Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki said on Thursday that the conservative government in Warsaw would “continue to pursue with determination” its policy of having “the causes and circumstances of this catastrophe fully explained."
A new Polish commission to reinvestigate the crash said in April that the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion and that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as they neared the runway.
The new commission, which is still probing the crash, was set up by Poland’s conservative governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in 2015.
The party is headed by Jarosław Kaczyński, twin brother of Poland’s late President Lech Kaczyński.
PiS has long challenged an official report into the crash issued by the previous Polish government which cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport.
A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.
Source: IAR/Polskie Radio 24