PM plans to commemorate Katyn and Smolensk victims in Russia

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday that he plans to attend observances of the anniversary of the 2010 Smolensk air disaster and 1940 Katyn Massacre of Polish POWs by Soviet security police that Poland wants to take place on April 10 in Russia.

"I would like to officially confirm what head of the Prime Minister's Office Michal Dworczyk said this morning. Yes, on April 10, 2020, on the 10th anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster, I want to go to Smolensk and Katyn, to pay tribute to all victims of this cruel Soviet murder in the Katyn forest and to pay respect to the victims of the Smolensk air disaster," the PM wrote on his Facebook profile.

Earlier, Dworczyk told the private RMF FM radio station that Morawiecki wanted to visit Smolensk and Katyn on April 10.

When he was asked if the prime minister would meet with his Russian counterpart, Dworczyk replied that "this visit will absolutely not have the character of a bilateral meeting."

The PM's office head noted that Russia may not allow the Polish delegation to enter the country. In his view, such a trip requires many diplomatic approvals, both from Russia and Belarus. He added that the PM's office is working on the arrangement of the visit.

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