Accessibility links

Breaking News

Poland To Exhume Remains Of Victims In 2010 Smolensk Plane Crash

Polish prosecutors said they will exhume the remains of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other victims of a 2010 plane crash to help determine what brought the plane down.

The crash near Smolensk in western Russia killed 96 people, including Kaczynski and his wife, as well as Poland's central bank chief, top army chiefs, and several lawmakers.

An inquiry by the previous centrist government returned a verdict of pilot error, but the ruling Law and Justice party led by Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw, says the crash may have been caused by an explosion onboard.

Prosecutors said on June 22 that the autopsy documents Poland received from Russia are incomplete and in some cases erroneous and don't help to explain the reason for the crash. This has led to previous exhumations.

Kaczynski's plane crashed on April 10, 2010, in dense fog on approach to the Smolensk airport. Separate commissions of aviation experts in Poland and in Russia blamed the crash on human error in adverse circumstances.

Russia has not returned crucial evidence -- the flight recorders and the wreckage -- saying it still needs them for its own criminal investigation into the crash.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.