New call for Moscow to return Polish presidential plane wreck
PR dla Zagranicy
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Friday adopted a resolution calling on Moscow to return the wreckage of a Polish presidential plane that crashed in western Russia in 2010.
The wreckage of the Polish presidential plane shortly after the crash. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/staszewski/CC BY-SA 2.5
Russia has refused to return the wreck to Poland, claiming that it is continuing to investigate the crash.
The resolution refers to the Chicago Convention, which, according to the Parliamentary Assembly, says evidence should be handed over after a technical investigation is complete.
The Parliamentary Assembly noted that Russia published a report into the crash in January 2011.
On April 10, 2010, a Polish plane carrying then-President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others – mostly political and military top brass – crashed while trying to land at a military airport in Smolensk.
A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.
A report issued by the previous government in Warsaw 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.
But the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, headed by Jarosław Kaczyński, twin brother of Poland’s late President Lech Kaczyński, has long challenged official reports into the crash.
According to a commission set up by Law and Justice after it came to power in late 2015, the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion and Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the presidential plane was approaching the runway.
The Council of Europe is a human rights organisation. Its parliamentary arm groups representatives of parliaments from the council’s member states.
The Parliamentary Assembly on Friday called on Russia to “hand over the wreckage of the Polish Air Force Tu-154 to the competent Polish authorities without further delay” in a manner that “avoids any further deterioration” of potential evidence.
It urged both Poland and Russia to engage in “international mediation” on the issue.
Source: PAP, assembly.coe.int