President air crash anniversaries Apr 10, 2016 12:43:29 GMT 1
Post by Bonobo on Apr 10, 2016 12:43:29 GMT 1
Poland marks anniversary of presidential plane crash
Masses, marches and ceremonies were being held across Poland on Sunday to mark the sixth anniversary of the Smolensk plane crash, which killed 96 people, including the country’s president and dozens of top officials.
Andrzej Duda (left) accompanied by Marta Kaczyńska (centre) on their way to the crypt at Wawel Cathedral, where the latter's parents, the late president Lech Kaczyński and his wife, are buried. Photo: PAP/Jacek BednarczykAndrzej Duda (left) accompanied by Marta Kaczyńska (centre) on their way to the crypt at Wawel Cathedral, where the latter's parents, the late president Lech Kaczyński and his wife, are buried. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
The anniversary is the first since the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in October. Sunday’s commemorations of the air disaster - which is still a source of bitter dispute in Poland - are particularly high profile.
PiS is headed by Jarosław Kaczyński, twin brother of former president Lech Kaczyński, who was killed when his plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia in 2010.
An official Polish delegation of almost 200 people travelled to Smolensk to pay tribute on Sunday to the crash victims.
In Poland, President Andrzej Duda laid flowers at the tomb of Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria in a crypt at the historic Wawel Cathedral in the southern city of Kraków.
"Time heals emotions, it changes them, but they are still present," Duda said.
Tribute to victims
Prime Minister Beata Szydło and PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński paid their respects at graves at Warsaw’s Powązki military cemetery and laid wreaths at a monument commemorating the crash victims.
Political leaders were to attend a Catholic mass in memory of the victims in St. John's Archcathedral in Warsaw in the evening. Afterwards, a “memorial march” was to take place to the presidential palace.
Rounding off the commemorations, Jarosław Kaczyński was to deliver an address at around 9pm.
The Smolensk plane crash is still an open wound in Poland. Supporters of Law and Justice have accused the former Civic Platform-led government of negligence in planning the 10 April 2010 presidential flight to Smolensk, and of mishandling the aftermath of the crash.
The wreckage of the presidential plane has never been handed over by Russia to Polish authorities.
Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz in February appointed a new team of investigators to look into the disaster.
While still an opposition MP, the minister had led the so-called Macierewicz Commission, a group of parliamentarians mainly from the then-opposition Law and Justice party which concluded in a 2014 report that the Polish president's Tupolev 154 plane was brought down by an explosion.
This was in stark contrast to earlier official Polish and Russian reports on the causes of the tragedy, which happened in dense fog on approach to a military airfield lacking ground identification radar.
The former report 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. The Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.
- See more at: www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/248072,Poland-marks-anniversary-of-presidential-plane-crash#sthash.Syl0vyHY.dpuf
Celebrations in major Polish cities and in Russian Smoleńsk forest.