Polish president to visit Katyn in April
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will arrive in Katyn on April 3 to participate in commemorative ceremonies dedicated to the 71st anniversary of the Katyn massacre, Polish media reported.
Ties between Russia and Poland, which had been hampered for decades over a range of historical disputes, have improved since the two sides were drawn together in grief after April 10 plane crash near Russia's western city of Smolensk that killed Polish then-President Lech Kaczynski, RIA Novosti reported.
"The Smolensk tragedy happened because the Polish president [Kaczynski] and many other Poles hurried to arrive in Katyn to honor the memory of the victims of Katyn massacre," Komorowski's advisor Tomash Nalench said.
"But those ceremonies got eclipsed by the shock and no one ever recalled them since April 10th," Nalench said.
According to official data, over 20,000 Polish officers were killed in 1940 by the NKVD - the Soviet secret police. The executions took place in various parts of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The largest massacre occurred in the Katyn forest near Smolensk.
In November 2010, deputies from the lower house of Russia's parliament approved a declaration recognizing the Katyn massacre as a crime committed by Joseph Stalin's regime.
Komorowski has hailed the recognition of the massacre. "I believe this is a positive signal that came from Moscow before the upcoming visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Warsaw. We must accept this document with great satisfaction keeping in mind that this is an official document by the [Russian] parliament," he said.