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Poland remembers victims of Smolensk crash amid continued controversy

Thousands of people took part in a service at Warsaw’s St John’s cathedral to commemorate the second anniversary of the 2010 plane crash at Smolensk airport that killed Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 including ministers, MPS, senators and high ranking military representatives.


On April 10, 2010 a Polish delegation was flying to Western Russia to mark the anniversary of the Katyn forest massacre of 1940, in which thousands of Polish officers were killed by Stalin's secret police. Their jet went down in a heavy fog.


Official commemorative ceremonies took place at Warsaw's Powazki military cemetery, where many of the crash victims are buried and a memorial to the disaster victims has been erected, as well as at the crash site near a military airfield in Smolensk, western Russia.


The second anniversary of the April 10 air disaster came amid continued controversy in Poland over the causes of a crash. The Polish side has accepted the findings of the official Russian investigation, blaming the Polish pilots’ decision to land despite extremely poor visibility.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, twin brother of the late president and leader of Poland's main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, boycotted the state ceremonies, for the second year running, to voice his disapproval of the findings in the Russian investigation.

He attended a separate private mass, before leading a procession to the Presidential Palace where addressed a crowd of several thousand people. He praised the legacy of his late twin brother for what he called a sensible foreign policy based on national security, for a rational form of patriotism and for standing up to various Polish elites.

Dozens of Kaczynski laid wreaths and lit candles as the names of the victims were read out. Kaczynski then went to the Military Powazki Cemetery, where he laid a wreath at a granite monument honoring those killed, where PM Donald Tusk had earlier laid flowers as well.

Kaczynski sees assassination as a cause behind the Smolensk crash “I'm not sure yet but more and more shows it was an assassination”, Kaczynski said as quoted by the Polish dailies.

He said recently that an investigation by his party concluded that there were two explosions before the plane crashed in heavy fog near the runway.
On the eve of the anniversary, supporters of Kaczynski, who believe Russian authorities and Poland's liberal government are responsible for the crash, rallied in front of the Russian embassy in Warsaw. The protesters set fire to effigies of Russian and Polish Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk, after mentioning their names amid assassination theories.
PM Tusk took part in the ceremony at Powazki with some of the victims' relatives. President Bronislaw Komorowski attended a service in Warsaw, and laid flowers at a plaque commemorating the victims.
Polish Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski and Russia's Parliament Speaker Sergei Naryshkin also laid wreaths in a ceremony at the crash site in Smolensk.

source: warsawvoice.pl

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