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Russians dismiss report of explosion on crashed Polish plane

Staff Writer |
Polish experts have voiced "incomprehensible claims" concerning signs of an explosion on the Polish presidential Tu-154M plane which crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk in 2010, Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko has said, TASS reports.

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Her statement follows a report by a special new Polish commission investigating the crash about "traces of an explosion" found on the left wing of the Polish presidential plane, which crashed and killed all 96 people on board near Smolensk, western Russia, on April 10, 2010.

An earlier report into the crash under Poland's previous government said the wing smashed into a birch tree close to the runway at the Smolensk military airport, causing the plane to crash.

"It is absolutely unclear what the new conclusions drawn by the Polish experts are based on," Petrenko said on Thursday, as cited by TASS. "Right after the crash, a ballistic test and a blast assessment study were conducted, proving that the aircraft had not been affected by any explosives."

Petrenko added: "At the same time, Polish experts, including members of the new investigation commission, have not conducted any examinations of the aircraft fragments since 2014."

According to Petrenko, "both Russian and Polish experts" in 2011 came to the conclusion that the crash had been caused by the aircraft’s collision with the birch tree. "The plane had remained intact" until it hit the birch tree, Petrenko said, as quoted by TASS.

She also suggested that the wreckage of the plane was being kept in Russia as "material evidence" in her committee’s own investigation into the crash.

According to the Polish investigators, "damage to the left wing of the Tu-154M was not started by colliding with the birch tree... The wing’s destruction started before the birch tree… [and] much damage to the left wing of the Tu-154M plane carry traces of an explosion."

The 2010 crash killed Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others, many of them top government and military officials.

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