Russian crash report 'political': minister

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Poland's defence minister Bogdan Klich on Friday termed "political" the findings of a Russian probe into the air crash in Russia which killed Poland's president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.

The comments of the leading Russian investigator Tatiana Anodina "in truth were political," Klich said in an interview for Poland's commercial Radio Zet.

"Stressing and returning to the topic of General Blasik with a blood alcohol level of 0.6 grams per litre was an evident political play towards international public opinion to show up Poles as the kind of people who provoke these types of catastrophes because they are ruled by drunk commanders," said Klich.

"We cannot regard this as an honest report," Klich said, adding Poland was working on its own report on the causes behind the crash.

Issued Wednesday, the Russian crash report claims Polish air force chief Andrzej Blasik, who was present in the cockpit of the doomed plane along with head of protocol Mariusz Kazana, had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.6 grams per litre.

Moscow's finding allege both men entered the cockpit and pressured pilots to land despite dangerous weather conditions as they did not want to annoy president Kaczynski by diverting.

Klich said he had "doubts about the material evidence" backing the Russian claim regarding Blasik.

Poland's liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Thursday termed the Russian report "incomplete" while the late president's surviving twin, conservative opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski slammed it as "making a mockery of Poland."

Tusk called for Polish input into Moscow's findings which he claimed were riddled with "procedural faults, mistakes" and "unquestionably did not follow all the procedures of the Chicago Convention", a global accord which regulates air crash probes.

"If talks with Russia do not result in a joint declaration, it will be possible to call upon international institutions," Tusk said.

President Kaczynski and 95 other passengers, mostly senior Polish figures, were en route to a ceremony at the western Russian Katyn forest commemorating the 70th anniversary of a World War II massacre of around 22,000 captured Polish officers by the Soviet secret police when their jet crashed while landing in thick fog.

© 2011 AFP

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