Presidential plane crash investigator upholds assassination claims
The head of a special sub-commission investigating the cause of the Smolensk air disaster that killed the Polish president and dozens of the country's political and military elite has said its official report will prove their aircraft was blown up.
On April 10, 2010, at 8:41 a.m., President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others were killed when their aircraft crashed as it came in to land near Smolensk, Russia.
The president, and his accompanying delegation, was on his way to nearby Katyn to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which close to 22,000 Polish POWs, mainly army officers, policemen and administration staff, were murdered at the hands of the Soviets.
Two official investigations into the disaster concluded it was an accident, but Jarosław Kaczyński, the twin of the late president and leader of Law and Justice (PiS), the governing party, has always maintained his brother was assassinated.
The PiS government set up the special sub-committee to investigate the incident, and appointed Antoni Macierewicz, a close Kaczyński ally, to run it.
Its report into the disaster will be published on Monday.
"I can't change the truth and will never change it, and the report that will be presented tomorrow clearly states that the Smolensk tragedy was caused by an act of unlawful interference that destroyed the plane by an explosion," Macierewicz told public broadcaster PR24 on Sunday, the 12th anniversary of the disaster.
"Poland will see a radical change after the publication of the report and the new position that the Polish state will adopt by undertaking international action related to the Smolensk crime," the sub-commission head went on to say.
Macierewicz, when asked who had been behind the explosion said that, in 2008, a decision was made to contract the service of both Polish governmental planes, the Soviet-era Tu-154 jets, to a company related to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with connections to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
"From that moment on, Russian (secret) services controlled every action related to President Lech Kaczyński's visit to Smolensk," Macierewicz said.
Macierewicz's sub-commission has been sharply criticised by the opposition and some family members of the victims. Over the six years of its operation, which included exhumations of the victims' bodies, the commission was marred by resignations of its experts, who often criticised the way the body was run.
The assassination claims, which Macierewicz has made on numerous occasions before, were refuted by Maciej Lasek, the head of the original Smolensk air disaster investigating body, the Polish Committee for Investigation of National Aviation Accidents.
The original report, published a year after the disaster, said the main cause of the accident was pilot error in unfavourable weather conditions.
Poles have been divided over whom to believe in the Smolensk disaster investigations and the issue still causes much controversy in society.