Russian Foreign Ministry ready to help organise Poland's memorial visit

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed readiness on Wednesday to help Poland organise a visit by a Polish delegation to western Russia on April 10 to mark the 10th anniversary of a Polish government plane crash and the 80th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

Speaking to Polish reporters in Moscow, the ministry expressed surprise about Polish concerns that Russia may hinder the visit.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz reported on February 15 that the Polish Embassy in Moscow had asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for help in organising a Polish state visit to Smolensk and Katyn on April 10.

A spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda said recently that the president "is hugely interested in commemorating the day in a dignified manner." Talks with PM Mateusz Morawiecki on the matter were underway, he added.

On April 10, 2010, President Lech Kaczyński, 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.