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New Smolensk investigation team appointed

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 04.02.2016 16:00
Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz on Thursday appointed a new team of investigators to look into the 2010 Smolensk plane crash, which killed 96 people, including then-president Lech Kaczyński.
Antoni Macierewicz - minister obrony narodowejAntoni Macierewicz - minister obrony narodowejFoto: MON

In the presence of the families of the victims of the Smolensk crash, Macierewicz formally signed a decision to set up a special sub-commission comprising the investigators.

“After nearly six years, today we already know a lot about the real course of events,” Macierewicz told a press conference.

“A great country was deprived of almost all of its leaders in a single moment.”

“I am deeply convinced that this decision and the work of the [sub-commission will lead to] a final decision," Macierewicz said, adding that this "will allow us to find out what happened, but also who is responsible”.

While still an opposition MP, the minister led the so-called Macierewicz Commission, a group of parliamentarians mainly from the then-opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party which concluded in a 2014 report that the Polish president's Tupolev 154 plane was brought down by an explosion.

This was in stark contrast to official Polish and Russian military reports on the causes of the tragedy, which happened in dense fog on approach to a military airfield lacking ground identification radar.

The former report 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.

The Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.

The wreckage of the plane has never been handed over by Russia to Polish authorities.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Poland’s Military Prosecutor’s Office said Russian officials had refused to hand over a summons to two air traffic controllers from the Smolensk military airport.

Among those killed in the plane crash were Lech Kaczyński, his wife Maria, central bank chief Sławomir Skrzypek, Ryszard Kaczorowski, a former President of Poland in exile, as well as top military officials. (rg/pk)

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