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Russian investigators disagree with Poland's claims about signs of explosion on Tu-154M

August 10, 18:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW

It is absolutely unclear what the new conclusions drawn by the Polish experts are based on, the spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee said

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© Olga Lisinova/TASS

MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Poland’s experts have voiced incomprehensible claims concerning some signs of an explosion on the fragments of the Polish presidential Tu-154M plane, which crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk in 2010, Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said.

"It is absolutely unclear what the new conclusions drawn by the Polish experts are based on," she said. "Right after the crash, a ballistic teat and a blast assessment study were conducted, proving that the aircraft had not been affected by any explosives," Petrenko pointed out. "At the same time, Polish experts, including members of the new investigation commission, have not conducted any examinations of the aircraft fragments since 2014," she added.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee’s spokesperson, in 2011, after assessing all the available information, both Russian and Polish experts came to the conclusion that the crash was caused by the aircraft’s encounter with a birch tree. "The plane had remained intact until it bumped into the birch tree," Petrenko stressed adding that the aircraft fragments were kept in Russia as material evidence in the Investigative Committee’s criminal investigation.

Poland’s claims

Poland’s government sub-commission investigating into the Polish presidential plane crash earlier claimed to have found some signs of an explosion on the aircraft’s left wing.

"The destroyed left wing of the Tu-154M bears signs of an explosion," the sub-commission’s press service said in a statement commenting on its recent meeting held on July 25.

However, the statement does not elaborate whether any traces of explosives had been detected, nor does it make any assumptions as to what could have caused the possible explosion.

Kaszynski plane crash

A Tu-154M airliner carrying a top Polish delegation crashed near the city of Smolensk in west Russia on April 10, 2010, killing all 96 people on board including Polish President Lech Kaszynski and many other senior military and political figures. The plane’s pilots made a decision to land despite poor visibility and the absence of a visual contact with the ground. The plane crashed just several meters away from the runway.

A Polish government commission for investigation of aviation accidents found that the crash had been caused by the plane’s descending below the minimum altitude at an excessive speed in the weather conditions that allowed no visual contact with the ground, as well as the crew’s failure to timely execute a go-around maneuver. A report prepared by the commission also named the crew’s error and its failure to respond to TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System) signals as the causes for the air crash, apart from the plane’s dive to an impermissibly low altitude.

However, Poland’s Law and Justice party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of the late president, did not agree with the commission’s conclusions. After winning the 2015 parliamentary elections, its members set up a new sub-commission on investigating air accidents to review the commission’s work.

Explosion theory

In April 2017, the sub-commission summarized its activities in the previous year, admitting that its members were unable to say when their mission would be completed. In addition, they also admitted that they had not yet figured out the causes of the plane crash.

At the same time, the sub-commission claimed that the crash could have been caused by an explosion on board. However, there are no expert studies or research to prove this allegation, as the Polish prosecutors have been repeatedly saying.

Meanwhile, Maciej Lasek, the former head of the Polish government commission for investigation of aviation accidents, who participated in the activities aimed at establishing the cause of the crash in 2010-2011, said that the explosion theory was just propaganda and "fantasies of people who have never investigation into aviation incidents."

Polish astrophysicist Pawel Artymowicz also said that the explosion theory was groundless. "Experts have already figured out that there was no explosion. We know it from a great number of sources, including the voice recorder. This device could not have failed to record the sound of an explosion and the blast wave," he said.

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