Russians start questioning Polish witnesses of Smolensk air crash

14:29, April 19, 2011      

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A Polish witness to the April 10, 2010 Smolensk plane crash testified at the Warsaw Military Prosecutor's Office on Monday, local media reported.

Three Russian prosecutors, present during the interrogation, had the right to ask him questions, spokesperson of the military prosecutor's office Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa told the PAP news agency.

The prosecutors of the Russian Federation Investigation Committee arrived in Warsaw on Saturday to take part in the questioning of Polish witnesses for the needs of the Russian investigation into the Polish plane crash.

Until April 30 the Russian prosecutors are to take part in the questioning of more than 20 witnesses, the spokesperson said, refusing to divulge the names of the witnesses.

Russian prosecutors may be willing to talk to the media next week, the spokesperson said.

The questioning of Polish witnesses is analogous to the questioning of Russian air traffic controllers at Severny airport near Smolensk in February, which was attended by two Polish prosecutors.

On April 10, 2010, a Polish government Tupolev-154M carrying then president Lech Kaczynski, his wife and a large delegation of VIPs crashed near a military airfield in Russia's Smolensk, killing all of the 96 people on board. The delegation was on its way to the Russian locality of Katyn for anniversary ceremonies of the 1940 mass executions of some 22,000 Polish POWs by the Soviet Union in the nearby Katyn Forest.

Earlier this year, Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) investigating the crash said in its report that the main cause of the crash was the Polish crew's decision to land in a bad weather, and refusal to divert to another airport.

Poland, for its part, said the Russian report on the plane crash was incomplete and erroneous. Polish officials promised that Poland will carry out its own investigation and will release a report as soon as possible.

Source: Xinhua
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