WARSAW, Poland – Poland expressed concern to Russia on Tuesday over what it called “difficulties” in accessing the site of the 2010 plane crash in Russia that killed Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki handed a diplomatic note to Russia’s Ambassador Sergei Andreyev regarding access to the crash site in Smolensk, Russia. It said the note stressed the need for dialogue that would also address the issue of a monument to the crash victims that Poland and Russia have jointly agreed to put up at the site, but which still has not been done. A symbolic cross and stone mark the site now.
The note urged Russia to prevent any actions that could make access to the site difficult.
Poland’s already tense ties with Russia have deteriorated further under the current conservative government, which is suspicious of Moscow. The ruling Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the late president’s twin brother and blames Moscow for the crash, despite investigators in Poland and in Russia saying that it was an accident.
The Polish government has opened a new probe that is seeking to support its theory that the crash was intentionally provoked.
Moscow is refusing Warsaw’s requests for the return of the plane’s wreckage or its flight recorders, making any investigation harder for the Poles but also fueling suspicions about whether there was anything to hide.
President Kaczynski, first lady Maria Kaczynska and scores of high government and armed forces officials perished in the crash on April 10, 2010, as they were arriving for ceremonies honoring Polish officers killed by the Soviet secret security in 1940. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has been leading monthly observances in Warsaw in their honor.