PAC Statement On 5th Anniversary
Washington, D.C. — On April 10,2010, Polish Air Force Flight 101, carrying President Lech Kaczyński and First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, along with 94 other government, military, political,social, and public leaders and friends of the Republic of Poland, fatally crashed several hundred meters short of the runway at the Smolensk Russian airport.
Flight 101 was transporting these representatives of Poland to Russia for a ceremony to commemorate the Katyń Forest Massacre, the mass murder by the Soviet Union in April and May 1940 of 20,000 Polish military officers, and other Polish leaders. The Poles were taken as prisoners of war bythe Soviet Union when it invaded Poland on September 17, 1939 as per its agreement with Nazi Germany that itself earlier had invaded western Poland on September 1st under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939.
The Polish delegation was traveling to Katyń to pay tribute to the murdered Poles when the crash occurred.
To this day, the Russian Federation has refused to provide Poland with the remaining wreckage of the plane itself, as well as the Flight’s black boxes and other material salvaged at the site by the Russian Federation’s OMON Special Purpose Police immediately following the crash.
As a consequence, the Polish American Congress demands that the Russian Federation immediately return the aforesaid remaining forensic materials to Poland in accordance with the related international standards of civilized practice of human decency and legal obligation involved in the aftermath of air tragedies.
The Polish American Congress also requests that the United States use all available diplomatic means to assist Poland in its efforts.
Finally, on this coming 5th anniversary of the Smolensk tragedy, the Polish American Congress extends its deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible disaster, and stands together with the Polish Nation in this time of painful remembrance.