Poland wants debris from president's Russia plane crash

22nd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Poland called on Russia Wednesday to return the debris of a plane that crashed and killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people near the western Russian city of Smolensk on April 10.

"We expect the return of the debris of the plane with as little delay as possible," Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski told reporters.

"In line with international legislation, the Polish state is the owner of the plane and of what has been left of it after the disaster," he added.

The debris is at the Smolensk airport, several kilometres (miles) from the accident site.

Poland's conservative opposition, led by Kaczynski's twin brother Jaroslaw, and the Polish media have slammed Russian authorities for failing to protect the debris from the weather and souvenir hunters.

The authorities never marked a no-entry area around the wreck, media said.

The debris not only serves as evidence, but also stirs powerful emotions among the bereaved families, said the minister.

"One key question must be answered: do the Russian prosecutors want to examine the wreck again?" he asked.

"If the Russian side finds it so difficult to protect the wreck, we can take over these responsibilities quickly, naturally after taking over the debris and transporting it to Poland," said Kwiatkowski.

Several investigations into the reasons of the plane crash are under way in both Poland and Russia.

© 2010 AFP

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