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Monday 5 December 2016

Poland honours late president and other plane crash victims

Published 10/04/2016 | 14:56

Jaroslaw Kaczynski lays a wreath in front of the portrait of his late twin brother, the former president Lech Kaczynski, and his wife Maria Kaczynska (AP)
Jaroslaw Kaczynski lays a wreath in front of the portrait of his late twin brother, the former president Lech Kaczynski, and his wife Maria Kaczynska (AP)

Ceremonies were held in Poland on Sunday honouring late president Lech Kaczynski and the 95 others who were killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia, amid revived allegations that the crash was a conspiracy by Russia and Poland's government at the time.

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The allegations come from the ruling Law and Justice party led by the late president's twin brother.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his followers claim they have evidence that "almost certainly" proves that the president's plane fell into pieces in mid-air from an attack as it was preparing to land at Smolensk airport. Defence minister Antoni Macierewicz has said the crash was an act of terrorism perpetrated by Russia.

Moscow has denounced the allegations as "absurd" and official investigations by Poland and Russia have concluded that the crash was an accident caused by errors of the crew trying to land in heavy fog.

A team of Polish parliamentarians recently opened a new probe into the crash, which was the country's worst national disaster since the Second World War.

On Sunday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, prime minister Beata Szydlo, other government officials, victims' families and hundreds of Warsaw residents were taking part in prayers and the laying of wreaths at the victims' graves and memorials.

Among the victims were parliamentarians from various political parties, armed forces' commanders and Poland's last president of the Polish government-in-exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski.

They were flying to Russia for observances honouring Polish officers killed in the forest of Katyn and elsewhere by the Soviet secret police in 1940. For decades Moscow refused to acknowledge responsibility for those crimes, and the subject was also taboo for decades of Moscow-backed communist rule in Poland.

Press Association

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