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Feb 27, 2024

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Return of Smolensk Wreck Tops Moscow Meeting

Poland’s Attorney General Andrzej Seremet met with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday, March 12 to discuss the eventual return of the plane wreckage of the 2010 Smolensk air disaster.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the wreckage of the Tupolev 154 plane cannot be returned to Poland until Russia’s official investigation into the crash has been completed.

“The Attorney General wants to clarify what phase the Russian investigation into the catastrophe is in, which is important regarding the prospects of the return of the wreck and the black boxes to Poland,” said Mateusz Martyniuk, spokesman for Seremet’s office, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

Besides meeting his Russian counterpart Yury Chaika, Seremet will also speak with Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, which is responsible for the Smolensk investigation.

With the third anniversary of the April 2010 disaster now approaching, the question of the return of the wreckage remains “a very serious problem in Polish-Russian relations”, as described to Polish Radio by Senator Bogdan Klich, the former defence minister who discussed the matter in Moscow last month.

In July 2011, Klich himself had been compelled to resign from his post as a result of the crash.

Last December, Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski asked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for assistance in retrieving the wreckage, claiming that the remains were not essential for the Russian investigation. However, the move did not alter Moscow’s standpoint.

All 96 Poles on board the Tupolev 154 died in the 10 April 2010 crash, when President Lech Kaczynski’s delegation flew to Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the WWII Katyn massacre. (nh)

– Polskie Radio