April 11, 2010

Polish president killed in plane crash


World leaders expressed shock at the horrific plane crash Saturday in Smolensk, Russia, that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and much of the nation's ruling elite. All 96 people on board did not survive the tragic crash.

Russian news agencies said pilot error had come under immediate suspicion.

AFP reported the Tupolev Tu-154 jet was carrying Kaczynski and his wife, the military chief of staff, central bank governor, deputy foreign minister, members of parliament and other top officials to a ceremony for thousands of Polish troops massacred by Russian forces in World War II.

Kaczynski was the identical twin brother of former prime minister Jaroslaw. He was on his way to attend commemorative ceremonies for the Katyn massacre, which decimated Poland's military and intellectual elite 70 years ago.

It was reported the crash occurred three days after Putin and his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, together attended a memorial for the victims of the massacre at Katyn.

The Putin-Tusk meeting there was seen as a huge symbolic advance in Russia's often thorny relations with Poland.

Poland went into mourning with this horrific tragedy on Saturday.

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