Russian controllers deliberately caused 2010 air crash: Polish prosecutors
PR dla Zagranicy
Prosecutors probing the 2010 crash of a Polish presidential plane in western Russia said on Monday they want to charge Russian air traffic controllers with intentionally causing an air catastrophe.
Marek Pasionek. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
Deputy Prosecutor-General Marek Pasionek made the announcement at a special press conference on Monday summing up the work of Polish investigators probing the crash, which killed Polish President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others.
The dziennik.pl website reported that Polish investigators want to charge two air traffic controllers and a third person who was in the control tower at Smolensk airport, western Russia, at the time of the disaster.
The TASS news agency cited a Kremlin spokesman as saying that the Russian authorities “could not agree to such conclusions.”
Dziennik.pl added that previously Polish investigators aimed to charge Russian air traffic controllers with deliberately bringing about the risk of a catastrophe and unintentionally causing a disaster.
The latest allegations follow a fresh analysis of comments by control tower staff, said Marek Kuczyński, head of a team of Polish prosecutors team probing the catastrophe, according to dziennik.pl.
A new probe into the plane disaster was launched after the Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in Poland in late 2015. PiS politicians have challenged a report under the previous Polish government which concluded the crash was an accident.
The crash in western Russia on 10 April, 2010 saw the death of 96 people, including then-President Lech Kaczyński - twin brother of PiS's current leader Jarosław Kaczyński - and the then-first lady, as well as many top military and government officials.
The earlier Polish report on the causes of the tragedy, which happened in dense fog on approach to a military airfield lacking ground identification radar, cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of the Smolensk military airport. A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.
Ceremonies planned for Monday in Warsaw to mark the seventh anniversary of the Smolensk catastrophe include speeches by Jarosław Kaczyński and President Andrzej Duda, and a “March of Memory.”
Warsaw City Hall has said that only state ceremonies organised by the ministry of culture will take place in front of the presidential palace. Sixteen bans on other assemblies have been issued. (pk)