Katyń Massacre commemorated in Katyń

The Polish War Cemetery houses the graves of over 4,000 Katyń Massacre victims. Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

Polish Ambassador in Russia Włodzimierz Marciniak headed the Polish delegation to Wednesday's commemorations of the 1940 Katyń Massacre of Polish POWs by Soviet security police, at the Polish War Cemetery in Katyń, western Russia.

The massacre takes its name from the nearby Katyń Forest, where most of the executions took place. The Polish War Cemetery houses the graves of over 4,000 Katyń Massacre victims.

Also attending the ceremony were Polish diplomats and members of the local Polish community. Afterwards, the commemoration participants paid homage to Russian victims of Stalinist repressions.

In his address, Marciniak observed that although the Katyń Massacre victims differed in their political views, religious beliefs and professions, they were all linked by a love of their country. He also stated that the victims of the 2010 Smoleńsk air disaster - in Poland's then president, his wife and dozens of senior political and military officials - were killed, had been on their way to Katyń to commemorate the 1940 executions.

"Those who perished in 1940 in Katyń, and in Smoleńsk in 2010, differed in their religious beliefs, professions and political orientations, but were nonetheless bound by a love of their motherland (...). Quite surely we, who are gathered here, are people who also differ in religious beliefs, world-views, callings and political sympathies. But we have come to testify to the truth and to understand the tragedy of history," Marciniak said.

On April 10, 2010, President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, the last President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski and dozens of senior government and military officials were killed in an air disaster near Smoleńsk, western Russia. The delegation was on its way to nearby Katyń to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyń Massacre, during which around 22,000 Polish POWs were murdered at the hands of the Soviets.