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Diplomat dismisses Poland’s accusations against Russian probe into 2010 plane crash

Moscow believes the accusations against Russian experts to be "improper and far-fetched"

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Poland’s accusations hurled at Russian experts investigating the Polish presidential plane crash, which occurred near the Russian city of Smolensk in 2010, are improper, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"I have seen media reports saying that Polish authorities have been exhuming the crash victims," Zakharova said. "There have also been speculations concerning some errors done during the exhumation which were blamed on Russia."

According to Zakharova, back in 2010, the Polish presidential plane crash shocked Russia.

"The best experts were sent to investigate the crash, they had to work under extreme conditions," she added. "They maintained close cooperation with their Polish counterparts and no issues emerged at the time. We all remember how open Moscow was in this matter," the Russian diplomat added.

"The victims’ remains were sent to Poland a few days after the crash, Polish officials and the victims’ relatives participated in the identification," Zakharova pointed out. "The transfer of the bodies was conducted in strict accordance with all rules and regulations, while Russia was not involved in the procedures that were later conducted on Poland’s territory," she said.

"This is why we believe the accusations against the Russian experts are uncalled for and far-fetched, as they have honorably fulfilled their duty," the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman stressed.

Kaszynski plane crash

Tu-154M airliner carrying a high-ranking 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 visual contact with the ground. The plane crashed just several meters away from the runway.

A Polish government commission on investigating air accidents found that the accident was 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 cited 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 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.