Russian crash report flawed: minister

12th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Polish minister on Wednesday said Warsaw accepted a Russian report blaming Polish failures for the April air crash that killed Poland's president, but argued Moscow's inquiry was flawed.

"We are not disputing the criticism of the MAK (Russian investigators) towards the Polish side," Poland's Interior Minister Miller told reporters in Warsaw.

"We would have made the same criticisms, it's obvious to us," Miller said.

However, the Polish minister also blamed Russian air traffic controllers on the ground at Smolensk.

"Both (the Polish and Russian) sides were equally ill-prepared for the flight," Miller said, adding Poland believed the Russian findings were incomplete.

A damning report listing Polish shortcomings that risks sparking new tensions with Warsaw included audio evidence that two top officials entered the cockpit to pressure pilots to land despite explicit weather warnings against doing so, as they did not want to annoy the president.

Earlier Wednesday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president Kaczynski's identical twin and leader of Poland's conservative opposition slammed Moscow's inquiry into the accident as a "mockery".

"The report makes a mockery of Poland," Kaczynski told reporters after Russian investigators in Moscow presented their findings earlier Wednesday blaming the crew and other occupants of the presidential plane.

"The report blames Polish pilots and Poland without proof in a unilateral fashion. Many questions remain unanswered," he added.

A spokesman for Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would cut short a holiday in Italy to return to Warsaw for consultations on the Russian report on Thursday.

© 2011 AFP

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