Warsaw, Poland. Polish prosecutors announced Monday they would press charges against two Russian military air traffic controllers for deliberately causing a 2010 plane crash that killed Poland’s president and 95 other people.
A 2010 inquiry by the previous government had returned a finding of pilot error, but the ruling Law and Justice party led by Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw, had said the crash may have been caused by an explosion on board.
The accusations of the Polish prosecutors, whom Polish leaders brought under direct government control, are likely to worsen relations with Russia already strained over the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian response was delivered by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said the circumstances of the tragedy have already been thoroughly studied.
“And it is certainly not possible to agree with such conclusions,” he said on a daily conference call with reporters, referring to accusations of Russian involvement in the disaster made by the Polish prosecutors.
“An analysis of the evidence has allowed prosecutors to formulate new charges against air traffic controllers, citizens of the Russian Federation,” Polish Deputy Prosecutor General Marek Pasionek told a news conference.
The Polish prosecutors also said on Monday that the re-opening of the victims’ coffins, which had been sealed in Russia, has so far revealed that in two cases remains were in the wrong coffins and in five coffins there were fragments of other bodies.The prosecutors also said they would work with foreign laboratories to check whether there were traces of explosives on the remains of victims.
The accident took place as pilots attempted to land a Soviet-made TU-154 in heavy fog at a rarely used airport near Smolensk, western Russia, to take part in commemorations of 22,000 Polish officers executed there by Soviet secret police in 1940.
The accident near Smolensk in western Russia killed the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, as well as the central bank chief, top army brass and several lawmakers. The crash was the worst such disaster in Poland since World War Two.