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2010 Smolensk air disaster was ‘attack’ says Kaczynski

The head of Poland’s ruling party on Sunday described the 2010 Smolensk air crash that killed his twin brother — then president — and 95 others, as “an attack”, blaming elements in Poland and Russia.

And denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned western European countries that it could just as easily happen there.

Kaczynski was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 12th anniversary of the Smolensk air crash, in which president Lech Kaczynski, his wife and senior members of his administration perished.

They were flying back from Russia where they had attended a ceremony in memory of the victims of the Katyn massacre when the crash happened.

Kaczynski, addressing a crowd of several thousand people in front of the presidential palace Sunday, said he had “a complete and verified answer from several sources, including from abroad” as to what had caused the crash.

He did not elaborate on who those sources were or what evidence they had, saying that would be made public “very soon”.

He acknowledged that “those who took the decision and those who carried it out, here in Poland, but most of all in Russia”, still remained to be identified.

But asking who “profited from the crime” Kaczynski recalled his brother’s policies that were hostile to Moscow.

And in an apparent reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said: “Post-communism in Russia is as criminal as communism.”

Kaczynski also addressed a warning to western European countries, saying: “What we are seeing today in Ukraine can happen elsewhere, not just in Poland… It could happen in Paris too, or just as easily in Berlin, or in Rome.”

The cause of the 2010 Smolensk air crash has been the subject of a fierce debate that has divided Poland ever since.

Conservatives have accused the liberal government that was in power at the time of negligence in their preparation of the trip and have criticised the investigation that followed.

In the days following the crash, some members of Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) blamed Vladimir Putin, prime minister at the time, accusing him of being behind the disaster.

Russia has categorically rejected any responsibility for the crash, blaming Poland.