Russia was ready to co-organise Smolensk observances - Russian MFA
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it had expressed 'full readiness' to co-organise the Polish delegation's official visit to Smolensk and Katyn on April 10 to commemorate the 2010 Smolensk air disaster.
The Russian ministry said in a statement that it "did not receive full-fledged information on the composition of participants and the programme of events until March 25". According to the ministry, "the composition and number of delegations and other data changed frequently" and this required "new arrangements".
At Friday's press conference in the Sejm (lower house), PM's Office head Michał Dworczyk said that the visit would take place at a later date because "Russia had not provided the Polish government with a clear-cut response regarding the logistics of the visit."
"The preparation of such events is associated with a number of procedures, including those regarding security, which must be strictly observed. This trip was in preparation from the beginning of February, we did not receive formal requirements, i.e. we did not have written guarantees, so a decision was made to cancel the delegation to Smolensk," Dworczyk added.
April 10 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster, which killed Poland's president Lech Kaczyński and a large number of top state and military officials during a failed landing attempt at an airfield in Smolensk, western Russia. The delegation was en route to nearby Katyn for commemorations of the Katyn Forest Massacre, in which Soviet security forces mass-executed 22,000 Polish POWs, mainly army officers, policemen and administration staff.