Top Polish officials mark anniversary of 2010 Smolensk air disaster

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Speaker of the Sejm, lower house, Elżbieta Witek and head of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) Jarosław Kaczyński laid wreaths and flowers at monuments to Lech Kaczyński and to the victims of the disaster, located on Warsaw's Piłsudskiego Square. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Poland's top officials on Friday marked the 10th anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster, which killed Poland's president and a large number of top state and military officials during a failed landing attempt in western Russia.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Speaker of the Sejm, lower house, Elżbieta Witek and head of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) Jarosław Kaczyński laid wreaths and flowers at monuments to Lech Kaczyński and to the victims of the disaster, located on Warsaw's Piłsudskiego Square.

The same delegation later laid wreaths at the graves of the Smolensk air crash victims at the Military Cemetery in Powązki in Warsaw.

Both ceremonies were attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, deputy head of President Lech Kaczyński's Office, Jacek Sasin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński and Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak as well as a group of PiS MPs.

"Ten years since the Smolensk disaster. This was a moment when time stopped. That scream echoes loudly in our ears. We experienced a national tragedy as a community. Today, in other circumstances, we also need unity. We honour the memory of the victims of Katyn and the Smolensk tragedy," Morawiecki wrote in a Twitter post.

President Andrzej Duda, on Friday, laid flowers at the tomb of Poland's late First Couple, Lech and Maria Kaczyński, in the crypt of Krakow's historical Wawel Castle in southern Poland.

“All those who flew to Smolensk with President Lech Kaczyński on April 10, 2010, went there guided by their hearts because they were Polish patriots,” Duda said.

On April 10, 2010, a Polish government plane carrying then Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and a large delegation of top state and military officials crashed during a landing attempt in heavy fog on an airfield in Smolensk, killing all on board.

The delegation was on its way to Katyn for commemorations of the Katyn Forest Massacre, in which Soviet security units mass-executed 22,000 Polish POWs, mainly army officers, policemen, prison wardens and administration staff.