A Polish MP has claimed that Russia may have engineered the air crash that claimed the lives of Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, and 95 others.
Artur Gorski, a member of the Law and Justice party founded by Mr Kaczynski, said that the Russian government had attempted to divert the Polish president’s flight to the ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
“One version of events says that the plane approached the airport four times, because every time the Russians refused it permission to land; they wanted to send the plane with the president to an airport in Moscow or Minsk,” Mr Gorski said in an interview published in the newspaper Nasz Dziennik. “They came up with some dubious reasons: that there was fog over the airport, and that the navigation system didn’t work as it was under renovation, and that airport had a short landing strip.”
Mr Gorski claimed that Moscow did not want President Kaczynski to attend the ceremony, fearing that it would overshadow a similar event hosted by Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, a few days before.
The Kremlin may also have feared that the Polish president, a noted hawk when it came to Russia, may have intended to criticise Moscow for not issuing an apology for the 1940 massacre. Unfortunately, the MP added, the plan ended in disaster when the Polish pilots attempted one final, and disastrous, attempt to land.
Just why the aircrew landed despite warnings has become the focus of intense speculation in Poland. Although a fuel shortage has been proposed as one reason, another theory is that President Kaczynski ordered the aircraft to land.
In August 2008 the president demanded his flight make an unscheduled stop in the Georgian capital Tbilisi while the Russian-Georgia war was still raging. To President Kaczynski’s fury, Captain Grzegorz Pietuczak, the aircraft’s commander, refused, saying the landing would endanger the passengers. Captain Pietuczak was later awarded a medal for his stance. UK TELEGRAPH