Russia to block Polish President’s visit on 10th anniversary of Smolensk disaster?

Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czautowicz was asked if the Polish President and the leader of the ruling party will be allowed to visit Smolensk in Russia on the 10th anniversary of the tragic air disaster in April. The Polish FM replied in diplomatic code that Poland feared that Russia would stop them.

The Polish FM Jacek Czaputowicz in an interview to be published on Monday by the “Rzeczpospolita” daily was asked whether President Vladimir Putin will visit Auschwitz on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp by the Red Army. He was also asked whether Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński will be allowed to visit Smolensk in April of next year for the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster.

The Polish FM signalled that Poland was concerned about next year’s anniversary visit to Smolensk.

“I cannot imagine that Russia could block our head of state’s visit to Smolensk. We are not aware of who will attend the Auschwitz celebrations from Russia as they are organised by Auschwitz Museum. I certainly would not wish for Poland to be regarded as Russia’s arch enemy.”

Poland’s FM felt there was no breakthrough in Polish-Russian relations on the horizon. He repeated that “Russia has not changed its attitude to the Ukraine, the democratic opposition or on the INF agreement.“

He also voiced disappointment at Russia’s continued refusal to return the wreckage of the plane that crashed in Smolensk and found the explanation that this was because Poland had not finished its investigation of the disaster as “unsatisfactory”.

Comment

Poland’s FM is preparing for the worst. He knows that Mr Putin is hopping mad about not being invited to the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII. He also knows that the Russian President is expecting the red carpet to be rolled out for him for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Poland is not willing to move on either because it does not think it will make any long-term difference. The present government does not wish to be seen as backing down on its narrative of history.

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