Relations Sour With Moscow
POLAND – “We will be suing the Russian investigation in Strasbourg for dragging its feet,” Witold Waszczykowski told a TVN24 broadcast in Poland. He was referring to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.
Poland will sue Russia in a human rights court over Moscow’s withholding of the wreckage of a Polish jet that crashed in
thick fog over Russia killing the Polish president in 2010, the country’s foreign minister-designate said.
Photo: Witold Waszczykowski, Republic of Poland’s foreign minister-designate
Russia has so far declined to return wreckage, arguing it first needed to conclude its own inquiry. The decision by a new more nationalist Polish government to press the matter could add to tensions already stirred by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and subsequent EU sanctions against Moscow.
“We will sue Russia in arbitration tribunals over withholding Polish property … so that we get Russia convicted and ordered to give us back the property,” he said.
A Polish government investigation blamed pilot error and the airport crew for the April 10, 2010 crash.
The crash, in Smolensk, western Russia, killed 96 people, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, the central bank governor, top army commanders and other high-ranking officials. Kaczynski’s identical twin brother Jaroslaw now heads the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won an outright majority in both chambers of parliament in an October election.
Poland’s defense minister-designate Antoni Macierewicz believes an explosion caused the 2010 presidential jet crash.
On April 7, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joined Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at a ceremony
commemorating the massacre, marking the first time that a Russian leader had taken part in such a commemoration. Three days later, on April 10, a plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski to another commemoration ceremony, crashed near Smolensk and the Katyn site. Killed were Kaczynski his entourage. Those included were his wife, the head of the national security bureau, the president of the national bank, the army chief of staff, clergy, relatives of Katyn victims, and a number of other Polish government officials.
In November 2010 the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly) officially declared that Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders were responsible for ordering the execution of the Polish officers at Katyn.
Russia has so far declined to return wreckage, arguing it first needed to conclude its own inquiry. T he official investigation by the Polish authorities found serious deficiencies in the organization and training of the Air Force unit involved, which was subsequently disbanded. Several high-ranking members of the Polish military resigned, under pressure from politicians and the media.
The decision by a new more nationalist Polish government to press the matter could add to tensions already stirred by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and subsequent EU sanctions against Moscow.
Submitted by Raymond Rolak