Poland commemorates fourth anniversary of Smolensk plane crash
April 11, 2014
The former president’s twin brother and PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski among participants of the ‘Remembrance March’ honoring Smolensk crash victims.
Warsaw and other Polish cities, as well as Smolensk in western Russia held ceremonies on Thursday to mark four years since the plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people including Poland’s top officials crashed in near the Smolensk military airport.
The Polish delegation was en route to memorial ceremonies in Katyn for thousands of Polish army officers killed by the Soviet secret police in 1940.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk, government officials and victim families took part in an official commemoration at the Powazki military cemetery where 28 of the victims are buried. At 08.41 am local time, the exact time when the TU-154 aircraft went down, a trumpet was played and the names of the 96 victims were read out.
President Bronislaw Komorowski and First Lady, together with the families of crash victims who had a connection to the office of president, took part in a commemorative mass celebrated in the Presidential Palace chapel by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz.
The late president's daughter Marta Kaczynska laid flowers at her parents' tomb in a crypt under Wawel cathedral in the southern city of Cracow.
A delegation of the Polish Embassy in Moscow and representatives of the Polish Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites laid wreaths on the site of the crash in Smolensk.
Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the former president’s twin brother attended a church service in Warsaw with other PiS politicians and later laid flowers and lit candles in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
Referring to ongoing controversies around the causes of the Smolensk crash Kaczynski said that Poles "needed the truth" about the disaster.
Extensive investigations have failed to stop speculation and arguments over the reasons for the crash.
PiS believes the April 10, 2010 disaster was nothing short of an assassination of President Kaczynski and an explosive device was planted in the plane to bring it down.
However, on Monday Polish prosecutors ruled out the possibility of a bomb explosion on board and technical failure and pilot error remained suspected causes.