Poland to examine remains of president killed in 2010 plane crash over Russia

WARSAW: The remains of then-president Lech Kaczynski will be among the first to be examined among victims of the 2010 presidential jet crash over Russia, the late president's twin brother and leader of the ruling party was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Earlier this year, the Law and Justice (PiS) party re-launched an inquiry into the crash that also killed 95 other members of the Polish delegation including top army commanders, the central bank head and several lawmakers.

Polish prosecutors have said they would re-open the victims' coffins, which had been sealed in Russia, arguing post-mortem examinations were needed to establish the cause of the crash.

"I agree with the decision on exhumations. In case of my brother, the timing is already being discussed," PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told the Onet.pl website in an interview published on Saturday.

"This will be one of the first, if not the first exhumation," he said.

Six of the previously exhumed nine bodies had been wrongly identified, the prosecutors said in June.

The crash was the worst such disaster in Poland since World War Two and left society deeply divided over the causes of the catastrophe despite the previous government's inquiry that returned a verdict of pilot error.


The divisions deepened after high-ranking members of PiS have said the crash may have been caused by an explosion on board. In June, Poland's defence minister said the plane "disintegrated" metres above the ground.

The crash took place as pilots attempted to land a Soviet-made TU-154 in heavy fog at a rarely-used airport near Smolensk, western Russia, to take part in commemorations of 22,000 Polish officers executed there by Soviet secret police in 1940.

Russia has so far refused to return the wreckage of the jet to Poland, a member of NATO and the European Union. This has strained relations with a country Soviet forces controlled for over four decades following the second World War.