I want to be in Katyn on April 10 to honour Polish victims: PM

First official suggestions at the Polish government’s willingness to mark its presence in Katyn to honour the Polish victims of the 1940 massacre carried out by Soviet secret police NKVD and the victims of the Polish presidential plane crash of April 10, 2010, emerged on Wednesday, and have now been confirmed by Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki.

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“Yes, on April 10, 2020, on the day of the decennary of the presidential plane crash, I want to go to Smolensk and Katyn, to pay homage to the victims of the terrible Soviet massacre perpetrated in the Katyn forest and also to the victims of the crash,” Mr Morawiecki posted on his Facebook wall on Thursday.

“Both of these events changed the history of Poland forever,” added the PM.

The statement comes as corroboration of what the head of the PM’S Office Michał Dworczyk told Poland’s RMF FM radio earlier on Thursday and Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage Jarosław Sellin’s Wednesday statement for Radio ZET.

“The PM’s Office is looking at the possibilities for such a trip as we speak,” said Mr Dworczyk, adding that, were such a trip to be organised, “it should absolutely not be considered a bilateral visit.”

“The main aim of the trip is to honour the people who died 10 years ago in possibly the most dramatic post-WWII event that our country has witnessed,” said Mr Dworczyk, adding that a range of Russian and Belarusian diplomatic permits would have to be obtained to make the visit possible.

Presidential plane crash

On April 10, 2010, the Polish presidential Tu-154M plane crashed near Smolensk, western Russia. All 96 passengers and members of the crew, including then president Lech Kaczyński and the First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, were killed.

The Polish delegation was going to Russia to attend the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

Katyń Massacre started 79 years ago

On April 3, 1940, the Soviet Union started the mass murder of the Polish officers held in camps in Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk, located in...

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Katyn massacre

Following the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939, about 250,000 soldiers, including over 10,000 officers, were taken captive. In the spring of 1940, NKVD officers executed about 22,000 Polish citizens detained in camps and in prisons on the territory of the Soviet Union, including Katyn, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Minsk and Kalinin.

Among the murdered were the elite of pre-war Poland: officers of the Polish Army, policemen and reserve officers: officials, doctors, professors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, clerics, writers, merchants and social activists. At the same time, when the NKVD murdered Polish prisoners, their families became the victims of mass deportation into the Soviet Union.

In April 1943, the Nazi Germans announced the discovery of mass graves of Polish citizens in the Katyn Forest. The truth about the Katyn Massacre was finally revealed in 1990, when Boris Yeltsin, the then President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and a future President of the Russian Federation, released top-secret documents about this issue and handed them over to the then recently elected Polish president Lech Wałęsa.

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