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Heads roll in wake of Smolensk disaster report

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 05.08.2011 07:48
PM Donald Tusk has sacked Deputy Defence Minister Czesław Piątas, thirteen high-ranking officers, including three generals, and the 36th Special Airlift Regiment has been dissolved in an unprecedented clear out at the top of Poland's air force in the wake of the report into last year's Smolensk disaster.

PM Tusk with new dence chief Tomasz Siemoniak; photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka

As a government we are very determined to quickly and, not painlessly, I think, implement the recommendations of the report [headed by Interior Minister JerzyMiller], Prime Minister Tusk said on Thursday.

The sackings follow the resignation last Friday of defence minister Bogdan Klich in line with recommendations in the report into the Smolensk disaster which killed President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria and 94 others in western Russia on 10 April last year in western Russia.

PM Tusk green stamped the clear out at the top of Poland's air force after the move was recommended by new defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Three generals answering for sections responsible for training and flight security were dismissal: Anatol Czaban (former chief of training, currently assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Polish Army), Leszek Cwojdziński (current chief of training of the Polish Airforce) and Zbigniew Galec (former chief of the Air Operations Centre).

The 36th Regiment was responsible for flying Polish VIPs has been disbanded.

PM Tusk announced that government officials will now fly on civillian commercial flights.

He added that it had not yet been decided what will happen to the remaining VIP planes – a TU-154, the smaller Yak-40 aircraft and helicopters belonging to the 36th Regiment.

The Smolensk report concluded that though information being sent to the pilots of the doomed TU-154 by Russian air traffic controllers was full of errors as the plane approached the airport on that fatal Saurday morning last year, significant failures on the Polish sider had occured in the lead up to the flight, whuch was taking President Kaczynski to a 1940 Katyn memorial service.

Neither PM Tusk or the new defence minister would say if more dismissals will follow. (pg/ek)

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