MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – A passenger plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the city of Smolensk, killing all 87 on board, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday. Polish Foreign Ministry press secretary Petr Paszkowski confirmed that the Polish president was on board the Tu-154 aircraft. Kaczynski was flying with a delegation to take part in the Katyn memorial ceremonies. The events marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police in Katyn and elsewhere during World War II. The Army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, Lech Kaczynski’s wife and his brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, were on the passenger list.
Polish President Died In Plane Crash – RFE/RL, April 10, 2010
Poland’ state news agency PAP says there are no survivors from the crash of a plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski, today to the western Russian city of Smolensk. Russian news agencies quote the Smolensk governor and emergency officials (unidentifed) as saying 87 people were killed today as the plane crashed while on approaching Smolensk airport for landing.
The head of Russia’s top investigative body, Sergei Markin, said there were a total of 132 people on the plane, a Tu-154. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but reports said there was considerable fog in the area. According to preliminary data, appears to be a disaster because of human error. But the exact cause will know only after completion of the investigation. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the establishment of a Commission of Investigation headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Polish Parliament Speaker, Bronislaw Komorowski, has taken the interim duties as head of state. In Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of his Cabinet. Unfortunately, the event occurs on the background of recent attacks in Russia, so the landscape will not miss speculation. Maybe that’s why I appreciated in this case transparency of the Russian authorities that have allowed on-place the presence of media representatives.
I recall that a few days ago, on April 7, 2010, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin toured the Katyn memorial complex together with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Speech Delivered at the memorial ceremony for the victims of the Katyn Massacre and attended the Cornerstone dedication for The Church of the Resurrection of Christ. The meeting was part of series steps initiated by Russia in recent time to improve relations with Poland. Russia never has formally apologized for the murders from Katyn forest but Putin’s decision to attend a memorial ceremony earlier this week in the forest was seen as a gesture of goodwill toward reconciliation. Also Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk hold a joint news conference. Then Prime minister Putin said: “For the first time ever, the prime ministers of Russia and Poland have paid their respects to the victims buried at Katyn together. This step was necessary to advance Russian-Polish relations. It was motivated by our shared desire to have a relationship as true partners and neighbours. The truth about the past is important to Poles and Russians alike, however harsh and uncomfortable this truth might be. We will do everything possible to let the public know the truth. Prime minister Donald Tusk said in reply that: “Today’s events have made a great impression on all of us. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and I have met with the Russian-Polish Group on Difficult Issues and its Polish and Russian co-presidents. As prime ministers and members of this group, we have all realised that when we agreed to embark on this difficult joint project so many months ago, none of us expected such results.Today, when we saw the Russian prime minister bowing his head to the victims of Katyn, kneeling with the rest of us as we lit candles in Katyn, it seemed to some of us as if it were an ordinary event”.
According to latest information, Jaroslaw Kaczynski wasn’t in the presidential plane. He is alive and is with his mother. President Polish mother was hospitalized following the shock news of death his son.
Poland called for two minutes of silence across the country Sunday and declared a week of mourning. President Medevedev declared Monday a day of mourning in Russia.