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Moscow obstructing probe into 2010 presidential jet crash, says Poland

Staff Writer |
Investigators in Warsaw probing the fatal 2010 crash of a Polish presidential jet in Russia suggested on Monday that Moscow is obstructing inquiries by refusing to allow the plane wreckage to be reconstructed.

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Marta Palonek, a spokeswoman for a Polish commission probing the disaster, said that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends reconstruction of wreckage after a crash.

"Russia's refusal to implement ICAO regulations... has all the characteristics of obstructing” a probe into the catastrophe, said Palonek.

The Polish commission carrying out an inquiry into the crash, in which President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others were killed, last week accused Russia of “ill will or an absolute lack of competence in investigating air catastrophes,” according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

The commission was set up after the Law and Justice party - headed by the late President Lech Kaczyński’s twin brother, Jarosław - came to power in Poland in late 2015.

Last year the commission claimed the presidential plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion and that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the jet was approaching the runway of the Smolensk military airport.

Law and Justice has long challenged an official report into the crash issued by the previous government in Warsaw which cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk airport.

A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.

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