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Poland’s Foreign Ministry sends note of protest to Russia over Smolensk plane crash

December 29, 2016, 3:31 UTC+3 WARSAW

Russia’s Embassy in Warsaw earlier dismissed as ungrounded the demands of Poland’s National Defense Ministry to hand over the alleged new recordings from the cockpit of Poland’s Tu-154M plane

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© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV

WARSAW, December 28. /TASS/. Poland’s Foreign Ministry has sent a note of protest to Russia demanding to hand over without delay the recordings from the cockpit of the Tupolev-154M plane that crashed near the western Russian city of Smolensk in 2010, the Polish Press Agency said on Wednesday.

"On December 27, Poland’s Embassy in Moscow sent a note to the Russian side. Poland’s Foreign Ministry requests to hand over without delay the excerpts of transcript, earlier unknown to Poland, of conversations recorded in the cockpit of the presidential Tu-154 airliner just a few seconds before the crash near Smolensk in 2010," the news agency said, explaining the request stemmed from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words at his annual news conference on December 23.

Besides, the foreign ministry again filed a request to hand the plane debris to Poland.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia’s Embassy in Warsaw had dismissed as ungrounded the demands of Poland’s National Defense Ministry to hand over the alleged new recordings from the cockpit of Poland’s Tu-154M plane. The embassy published a statement on its website in comments to the Polish Defense Ministry’s appeal.

"In his comments on the Smolensk plane crash, the Russian president very clearly put all the emphasis," the statement reads. "The picture of the tragedy was reconstructed by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) and Polish State Commission on Aircraft Accidents Investigation. It is well-known, and to Poland, too. Actually, it is not a secret that the presence of unauthorized persons in the cockpit, who were exerting pressure on the pilots in that critical moment, was one of the disastrous factors."

"There are no grounds for claims that Russia allegedly has a new and earlier unknown recording of talks from the cockpit that the Polish side is requesting now. There are only the recordings that both the Interstate Aviation Committee and the Polish commission had during the investigation of the crash," the embassy said.

The transcripts of conversations between the pilots have been earlier published officially by the Polish side and local mass media outlets and can be easily found on the internet, it said, adding that "there is nothing new."

"Concerning the handing over the debris of the plane to the Polish side, there is no sense in explaining one more time why Russian investigators need the debris while the investigation is still underway," the embassy said, stressing that the Polish investigators can come to Russia at any time.

The crash of the Tupolev-154M servicing the flights of Polish top state officials that occurred a few hundred meters away from the runway of the Northern airdrome in Smolensk on April 10, 2010, claimed the lives of all the 96 people aboard, including the then President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and a host of Polish military and civilian officials. Six years after the tragic accident, both Polish attorneys and their Russian counterparts continue the investigations.

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