Poland's Kaczynski claims Russia stalling in air-crash probe

28th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Poland's conservative presidential hopeful Jaroslaw Kaczynski on Sunday accused Moscow of stalling in the probe of the air crash that killed his twin and sitting head of state in Russia in April.

"Progress in the investigation is minuscule, the probe is stalling, and that's putting it mildly," Kaczynski said during a televised debate with liberal rival Bronislaw Komorowski ahead of their July 4 run-off ballot.

"Polish investigators have not received crucial documents from Russia," Kaczynski said.

"We're in a situation where doubts are appearing" about the cause of the April 10 crash in Smolensk, western Russia, he added.

President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other Poles, many of them senior figures from politics and the military, perished in the crash.

There were no survivors from the Polish official jet, which came down in fog as it tried to land ahead of a memorial ceremony in the nearby Katyn forest for thousands of captured Polish officers killed by the Soviet secret police during World War II.

"This investigation is a matter of honour for the Polish nation because it was the greatest disaster to hit our country since 1945," Kaczynski said.

He reiterated calls for Russia to transfer control of the crash investigation to Poland.

His rival Komorowski noted however that there were two separate investigations under way, one Russian-led and the other Polish.

"We need to give the Russians a chance -- but also the Polish prosecutors -- to examine all the causes of the accident... without creating an atmosphere of mistrust," Komorowski said.

Flight records handed over to Poland by Russia have pointed to pilot error as the cause of the crash.

But some among the Kaczynski twins' conservative, nationalist supporters have claimed the accident was suspicious and there is a cover-up.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, oppposition leader and ex-prime minister, was tapped by the twins' Law and Justice party to run in a snap presidential election forced by Lech Kaczynski's death.

Komorowski, who as speaker of parliament became acting head of state after the crash, is standing for the governing liberal Civic Platform party.

He topped the ballot in a June 20 first round of voting but failed to win outright, setting up next weekend's run-off.

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article