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Poland commemorates Smolensk crash

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Poland commemorates Smolensk crash


This weekend Poland commemorates the first anniversary of the Smolensk plane crash in which 96 people including President Lech Kaczynski were killed.

A year on, Poles are still confused about what happened and investigations by Russian authorities have strained relations between Moscow and Warsaw.

Ewa Kochanowska’s husband was among the victims.

The trip, to the site where Soviet forces had massacred Poles during World War II, had been meant to be an opportunity to normalise relations, she explains.

“Just before his departure my husband confided to me that the clarification of what happened at Katyn, which was a tragic episode, a tragic event for both nations, would enable Poland and Russia to build new relations afterwards,” she said.

Instead, the opposite happened as the Polish delegation plane crashed in thick fog near Smolensk.

Despite a bilateral outpouring of grief, old suspicions have been revived by a Russian investigation that blamed Polish pilots for the disaster and absolved Russian air traffic controllers.

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