Limited delegation for Smolensk and Katyn anniversaries: official

The anniversary observances of the Smolensk Crash will be attended by a “state, limited delegation” including the Prime Minister, his associates, members of parliamentary caucuses, the deputy PM and State Assets Minister, Jacek Sasin told Polish private broadcaster Radio Zet on Wednesday.

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“We are forced to limit the delegation because we cannot endanger those who could, or even should be there. I mean especially the families, both relatives of Katyń massacre victims and families of those who died 10 years ago in Smolensk,” Mr Sasin said.

He added that that mainly consists of elderly people, who are among the most endangered groups for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Asked if among those intending to go to Smolensk is Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Mr Sasin responded, “this was the intention of the chairman [Kaczyński],” adding that “the situation is dynamic.”

“We made a decision that this 10th anniversary of the Smolensk crash, as well as the Katyń Massacre, is such a [key] event in the history of our nation that it cannot pass unnoticed. A limited... commemoration of those victims has to take place,” the deputy PM stressed.

Mr Sasin also said that Poland is in touch with Russian authorities. “As for now, nothing points to possible disapproval,” the minister claimed.

On April 10, 2010, Polish Presidential plane Tu-154 crashed in Smolensk, Western Russia, killed all 96 people on board, including Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and numerous high-ranking officials and military commanders.

The Polish delegation on that day was en route to Katyn, the location where Soviet secret services conducted a mass murder of Polish officers. Around 22,000 Poles were killed by order of Joseph Stalin in April and May 1940.