Poland accuses Russia
April 6, 2017 | Expert Insights
What will come of the accusations by the Polish government against Russia?
On the 4th of April 2017, Polish lawyers and advocates said that new evidence had been uncovered linking the 2010 plane crash near Smolensk to two Russian air traffic controllers and some other officials in the control tower. The ruling Law and Justice party and their leader Jaroslav Kaczynski have come out with statements saying that the Russians deliberately sabotaged the plane.
The plane crash killed the then President, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and several high ranking Polish officials.
What happened to the plane in 2010?
Polish officials including the President took off from Poland on the 10th of April 2010.
The tragedy occurred when the presidential delegation was travelling to honor 22,000 Polish officers who were supposedly murdered by the Soviet secret police at the start of World War II in the Katyn forest. The delegation included government members, politicians, military commanders and the relatives of officers killed in the wartime massacre.
The plane crashed in Smolensk leaving no survivors. The pilot was advised by air traffic controls to not land in Minsk and instead make an impromptu landing.
The plane got caught in various trees from initial reports and the engines exploded on impact.
The Russian government has denied interference in the plane crash and refused to acknowledge the supposed massacre in the Katyn forest.
What is the reason for the accusations?
Kaczynski's twin brother is the head of the ruling Law and Justice party and they control public sentiment over the incident. It has struck a nerve in the public with it being connected to two major tragedies that have befallen the state. They have unearthed information that the Russian officials who were directing the plane were told to land in Smolensk. The area is not geared for any plane landings and was dangerous move to advise.
Lech Kaczynski was an avid supporter of Georgia during the Russian invasion of the country and was an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. The Law and Justice Party point out that this with his key role in NATO made him an enemy to Russia. He was also trying to coerce Russia to admit to the atrocities committed in Katyn, which is an issue Putin refuses to acknowledge.
Russia initially refused to return the bodies and a lot of the bodies from the wreckage have still not been returned to Poland. An investigation by the Polish government into the matter might show what happened in the period before the crash and what brought on the reason to land in Smolensk.
Russia find itself amid a maelstrom of accusations. They have come under fire from Poland, the USA and all the Baltic states over the past month. Signs are springing up that Russia’s covert type of warfare is losing its illusory quality and their list of enemies in Europe are growing.