Polish access to site of Smolensk crash has been difficult: official
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki has told Russian ambassador Sergey Andreev that access to the site of the 2010 Polish presidential plane crash in western Russia has been difficult.
The crashed Polish presidential plane near Smolensk, western Russia, in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Bartosz Staszewski, PRS Team.net. (CC BY-SA 2.5)
In an official note, the Polish side said it expected unobstructed access to the crash site and Cichocki called for bilateral talks based on respect and understanding.
Despite repeated requests from Warsaw, Russia has refused to return the wreckage of the plane to Poland.
Cichocki also wants Russia to respect its 2010 commitment to erect a monument to the crash victims, adding that a timber cross and rock which have served the purpose since 2010 were meant to be there temporarily.
In 2011 the Polish and Russian sides agreed to a monument, which was to be unveiled in 2013, but in 2014 Russia asked for the design to be downsized.
A Polish plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 April 2010, killing all 96 on board including then-President Lech Kaczyński.
A new commission investigating the disaster earlier this year said the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion and that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the presidential plane was approaching the runway of the Smolensk military airport in 2010.
A new commission to investigate the crash was set up by the 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. (vb/pk)