Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

In Poland, 2 Russian Flight Controllers Suspects in 2010 Crash

An improvised memorial near the site of a plane crash that killed Polish then-President Lech Kaczynski in 2010.

Poland's military prosecutors said Friday they have identified two Russian flight controllers as suspects for allegedly contributing to the 2010 plane crash in Russia that killed Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.

Warsaw Regional Prosecutor Col. Ireneusz Szelag said the investigators want to question the two Russians, and are seeking Moscow's permission. A number of Polish flight officials have already been questioned.

Presenting a report from experts, Szelag said that the chief responsibility rested with the flight crew, who took wrong decisions, were not licensed to fly in conditions of poor visibility and pushed ahead with the landing in adverse conditions.

Two Russian controllers were communicating with the Polish presidential plane as it attempted to land in dense fog at a rudimentary airport in Smolensk on April 10, 2010.

The Tu-154M plane clipped trees and crashed some 500 meters from the runway, killing all aboard.

Concerning the Russian controllers, Szelag cited penal code articles that refer to unintentional contribution to a traffic catastrophe, which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.

An earlier report by aviation experts said the controllers allowed the crew to attempt landing at the poorly equipped airport and provided imprecise guidance.

Russian law and bilateral agreements should be taken into account, as Poland awaits Moscow's reply, Szelag said.

Two Poles are under criminal investigation for allegedly contributing to the crash. According to the prosecutors, they appointed a crew that was not licensed to fly in poor visibility. The criminal investigation into the crash continues and Friday's announcements were not final.

Poland has been asking Moscow in vain to return the wreckage.

The announcement comes at a time when Poland's ties with Russia are tense over the deadly conflict in neighboring Ukraine between the government forces and Russia-backed rebels.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more