Bereaved Kaczynski snubbed Putin's condolences

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski who died in an April 10 air crash in Russia, says he refused Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's personal offer of condolences.

"Our ambassador asked me if I would accept Putin's condolences. I refused," Kaczynski said in an interview published Wednesday in the right-wing Gazeta Polska weekly.

Both Kaczynskis were known for their combative political stance towards Moscow, which intensified in the wake of the 2008 Georgia-Russia crisis.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's conservative opposition leader and former prime minister arrived in Smolensk, western Russia, just hours after the crash of a Polish government jet there which killed 96 senior Polish figures, including president Kaczynski.

The official Polish delegation was aboard a Russian-made Tupolev 154 aircraft travelling to ceremonies at the nearby Katyn forest marking 70 years since a war-time Soviet secret police massacre of thousands of Polish officers.

Putin was also on site with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a liberal who was long the arch-rival of both conservative Kaczynskis.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski told Gazeta Polska "the role of Prime Minister Tusk and Prime Minister Putin in this case is not clear."

"To my mind, neither of them treated President Lech Kaczynski with due respect and effort," he said.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski was defeated by his liberal rival and close Tusk ally Bronislaw Komorowski in the Poland's July 4 presidential election forced by his brother's death.

As leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, Kaczynski has vowed to vanquish Tusk's governing Civic Platform (PO) in Poland's next general election due late next year.

Opinion polls, however, consistently show the PiS significantly trailing the PO.

© 2010 AFP

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