Poland seeks arrest of Russian air traffic controllers linked to President Kaczynski’s plane crash
The investigative team of the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office appealed to the District Court of Warsaw with a request for the temporary arrest of three Russian air traffic controllers who were working at Smolensk airport when the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed in 2010, a spokeswoman for Poland’s National Prosecutor’s Office, told Polskie Radio.
“The investigation team of the Prosecutor General’s Office appealed to the district court of the Warsaw-Mokotow district court with a request for the temporary arrest of three air traffic controllers who were working at Smolensk-North airport in 2010 … They will be put on the international wanted list, followed by a demand for extradition,” the spokeswoman said.
She added that the charges against the air traffic controllers relate to the intentional investigation into a plane crash that resulted in the death of a large number of people.
In July 2020, Experts of the Polish commission, investigating the plane crash near Smolensk in 2010 which killed 96 people, including the country’s President Lech Kaczyński, published an interim report alleging that two explosions in the left wing and central part of the plane were the cause of the crash.
According to the Commission, this is evidenced by the nature of the damage to the liner, the scattering of wreckage and the nature of injuries sustained by those people who were on board, as well as traces of explosives – TNT, pentaerythritol tetranitrate and hexogen, which was confirmed by the Polish and British laboratories. It is noted that traces of explosives were found in samples taken from parts of the aircraft, which Russian technicians changed during the aircraft maintenance in 2009.
“There is no doubt that the tragedy was caused by a number of deliberate actions, both during the service maintenance of the Tu-154M aircraft, tail number 101, during the preparation of the official government delegation to Katyn, deliberate guiding of the aircraft by Russian air traffic controllers to land a thousand meters away from the airport, and also the explosions that ultimately destroyed the plane and led to the death of the President of Poland and the entire government delegation,” the report reads.
The Tu-154 crashed while coming in to land at the North Smolensk airport, leading to the deaths of 96 people: Polish President Lech Kaczyński, the crew, and members of the official delegation traveling to an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
Russia is not going to extradite its citizens to Poland, reported Interfax, citing a source familiar with the situation.
“According to the country’s Constitution, the Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens to foreign states. This is prohibited by the basic law of the country,” the source said, commenting on the report about the absentee arrest of dispatchers.
“This path is dead-end, it has no prospect,” he added.