Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Breaking News: President Lech Kaczynski ‘in plane crash’

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A plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski has crashed near a Russian airport, officials say.

Russian media reported that 87 people were killed in the crash near Smolensk, and a regional governor was quoted as saying there were no survivors.

Polish officials said Mr Kaczynski was on board along with his wife Maria and several senior government figures.

They were in Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when Soviets killed thousands of Poles.

The Russian emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass news agency the plane crashed at 1056 Moscow time (0656 GMT).

Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said it had been flying from Moscow to Smolensk, but had no details on the identities of those killed.

Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufiev told Russian TV that no-one had survived.

“As it was preparing for landing, the Polish president’s aircraft did not make it to the landing strip,” he said.

“According to preliminary reports, it got caught up in the tops of trees, fell to the ground and broke up into pieces. There are no survivors in that crash.

“We are clarifying how many people there were in the [Polish] delegation. According to preliminary reports, 85 members of the delegation and the crew.”

The Polish Foreign Ministry said the president and his wife were aboard the plane. Central bank governor Slawomir Skrzypek was also said to have been on board. Source: BBC

Update 1 – Russian officials say 132 people were aboard Lech Kaczynski’s plane when it crashed near Smolensk airport. Polish state news agency says there were no survivors.

 The presidential plane was a Soviet-built Tupolev TU154M, at least 20 years old. The Army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremoer were on the passenger list.  In Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of his Cabinet.

Kaczynski, 60, became president in December 2005 after defeating Tusk in that year’s presidential vote. The nationalist conservative was the twin brother of Poland’s opposition leader, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.  Kaczynski had said he would seek a second term in presidential elections this fall. He was expected to face an uphill struggle against Parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Tusk’s governing Civic Platform party.

 According to the constitution, Komorowski would take over presidential duties. Kaczynski’s wife, Maria, was an economist. They had a daughter, Marta, and two granddaughters. Source: Associated Press

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Written by Theophyle

April 10, 2010 at 10:35 am

Posted in Breaking News

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