PM Morawiecki: I want to travel to Russia to honor Smoleńsk and Katyń victims on April 10

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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared that on the 10th anniversary of the Smoleńsk plane catastrophe on April 10, 2020, that he will “travel to Smoleńsk and Katyń to honor the victims of the terrifying Soviet murders in the Katyń woods and honor the victims of the Smoleńsk catastrophe.”

Morawiecki stressed that both of those events had changed the history of Poland forever.

The chief of the prime minister’s chancellery, Michał Dworczyk, explained, that the chancellery is currently analyzing the preparations for such a journey. Dworczyk also stated that the trip would not be a bilateral visit to Russia and Morawiecki would not meet with his counterpart.

“His main aim is to honor the people who died 10 years ago and in perhaps the most dramatic event in Poland after the end of the Second World War,” Dworczyk said, adding that such a trip would require a series of diplomatic permission from Belarussian and Russian authorities.

The spokesman of the president, Błażej Spychalski, said that President Andrzej Duda had spoken with the prime minister concerning the matter and expressed his wish that the government prepare a “worthy and proper ceremony”.

Spychalski underlined that talks and preparations are still ongoing. He added that in the upcoming days, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the possible organization of such a ceremony.

However, the Russian side did not confirm that such a meeting will take place.


Smoleńsk and Katyń were two of Poland’s greatest disasters

On April 10, 2010, 96 people died in the crash of the Tu-154 plane which was carrying the Polish delegation to the ceremony of the 70th anniversary of the Katyń massacre.

The casualties included Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, the highest-ranking military officials in Poland, and the last Polish president-in-exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski.

The Katyń massacre was a series of executions of about 22,000 Polish officers carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD, in April and May 1940.

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