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Polish opposition accuses defense minister of manipulating public over 2010 Smolensk crash

October 21, 2016, 18:50 UTC+3 WARSAW

The minister's words pose a real threat to the country’s security, one of the members of Poland’s Sejm stated

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Poland's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz

Poland's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz

© AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

WARSAW, October 21. /TASS/. Poland’s National Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz is deliberately misinforming society about the circumstances of the crash of the presidential aircraft near Russia’s Smolensk back in 2010 in his selfish political interests, Polish opposition lawmakers said on Friday.

What is said by the minister "is misinformation which poses a real threat to the country’s security," Marcin Kierwinski, a member of Poland’s Sejm, or lower parliament house, with Poland’s biggest opposition party Civic Platform, said at a Sejm meeting dedicated to the investigation into this fatal accident conducted by a new government sub-commission. He demanded the sub-commission members demonstrate anything that might prove that the deadly acceded had happened "in other way than it was presented in the Miller report" (Jerzy Miller headed a government commission probing into the crash in 2010-2011).

"The Law and Justice (Poland’s ruling party) authorities seem not to want to investigate it at all," said Pawel Suski of the Civic Platform. "We know your real purposes. It is first of all manipulation of public opinion by means of endless repeating lies in a bid that the larger part of society would finally believe in them. You are creating myths, repeating slogans, demonstrating pictures - they are all fakes."

The defense minister and officials of the sub-commission told the lawmakers results of their seven-month’s probe. Thus, they claim that the plane crashed not because it had hit the tops of trees as the plane’s fragments were found at a distance of some 60 meters from the crash site. Apart from that, they claim several seconds of a recording on the jet's flight recorders, which featured important information of the last moments of the flight were cut out. They surmise that exactly these seconds contained signals on the Tupolev-154M's breakdown. In their theory, the latter signals should prop up their hypothesis suggesting the jet began to fall apart before collision with the trees. Moreover, experts say that the bodies of the crash victims recovered far away from the fire site had sings of burns which may mean that fire had broken out aboard the plane in mid-air.

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.

The Polish state investigative committee for air accidents led by Jerzy Miller drew a conclusion in 2011 that the lowering of the jet below the minimal admissible altitude at an overly high speed in the weather conditions not allowing a visual contact with the land and a late start of the go-around flight maneuver had become the causes of the crash.

A report it published fifteen months after the tragedy added a few other causes, including the errors made by the crew and the fact the pilots had ignored the signals emitted by the Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) that prevents a collision with the ground known as a 'controlled flight into terrain'.

The party led by Lech Kaczynski's brother, Jaroslaw, Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (Law and Justice), disagreed with the conclusions. Following arrival at power upon the results of a parliamentary election last October its activists launched a procedure for revision of the findings of the Jerzy Miller commission.

They formed a new commission for investigating air accidents.

On September 15, members of the new sub-commission made public the results of the first six months of its work and said the initial materials on the tragedy had been forged.

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