Poland wants Russia to explain crash probe delay: Polish PM

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Poland wants Russia to explain the delay in sending to Warsaw key facts in the probe into the April 10 air crash death of president Lech Kaczynski, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Monday.

"The Polish side will be waiting for information and explanations about the reasons hampering the Russian side in forwarding the appropriate documents," Tusk told reporters of the probe into the presidential jet crash that killed all 96 on board.

"Now when the probe is entering its final phase, our cooperation is worse than at the beginning," Tusk added.

Poland's leading Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported that at issue are documents which could confirm or exclude the role played by Russian air traffic controllers and technical equipment at the remote and unsophisticated airport in Smolensk, western Russia.

"The problems have begun. The Russians don't want to make materials available," the Gazeta Wyborcza quoted Poland's top investigator in the case, Edmund Klich, as saying.

Tusk confirmed Monday he had authorised Klich to forward a complaint over the delays to Tatiana Anodina, chairwoman of the Russian-led Interstate Aviation Committee investigating the crash.

Poland's Interior Minister Jerzy Miller, supervising the Polish commission probing the crash, confirmed that Warsaw was still waiting for documents permitting it to proceed with its probe.

"Several weeks ago I submitted (to Russian authorities) a list of documents that are of interest to the Polish commission but which it has not yet received. Knowing the complicated procedures in the Russian Federation, I believe its just a procedural delay," he told reporters Monday.

Poland's Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said last week that Warsaw was still waiting for Russian justice officials to reply to Polish requests for information concerning the case and that he hoped it would arrive in August.

More than three months after the crash, Polish justice officials have not yet ruled out any possible cause.

Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 other Polish dignitaries were killed when the Russian-made Tupolev 154 Polish presidential jet crashed on landing in bad weather in western Russia.

The delegation was en route to ceremonies marking 70 years since the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police at the nearby Katyn forest during World War II.

The president's death forced a snap election on July 4 in which Kaczynsk's twin stood against liberal Bronislaw Komorowski, who won the vote.

© 2010 AFP

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