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Smolensk disaster report critics playing Putin’s game, PiS leader says

Kaczynski said that critics of the Polish report were actually defending Russia’s claims that the crash had been caused by pilot error.
Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, the dominant party in Poland’s governing coalition, has claimed critics of new report into the 2010 Smolensk air disaster are defending Putin.

Kaczynski’s brother Lech, who was then Poland’s president, died along with his wife and 94 others when their plane crashed as it came into land at Smolensk airport in western Russia.

Official investigations into the crash concluded that it was an accident caused by a number of factors.

The Law and Justice’s leaders words came after TVN24, a private news channel, suggested that a special commission set up to investigate the crash, led by Antoni Macierewicz, a loyal Kaczynski ally, had concealed evidence that countered its eventual conclusion that the aircraft was destroyed by explosions.

The TVN programme claimed that Macierewicz had failed to publish the complete findings of the US-based National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), which countered the Polish commission’s claims that the crash had been caused by an explosion in one of the machine’s wings.

Asked about the matter on Thursday, Kaczynski said questions about the NIAR findings should be addressed to Macierewicz. He also said that the full report on the Smolensk incident will be published soon, but declined to name a deadline.

Kaczynski said that critics of the Polish report were actually defending Russia’s claims that the crash had been caused by pilot error.

“It’s simply astounding to see a huge front defending Putin in Poland, even now, when his genocide is there for all to see,” Kaczynski said, adding that the situation “recalled the worst moments in our history.”

An international commission under Russian auspices stated that the accident had been caused by the plane’s crew, who decided to land the plane in Smolensk in adverse weather despite being warned against it by the airfield’s air-traffic controllers.

The commission’s findings were later corroborated by a Polish commission.


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