Russia criticises Polish report on Kaczynski plane crash
Disagreement between Moscow and Warsaw over the causes of an air crash that claimed the life of Poland's president Lech Kaczynski deepened Tuesday as Russia disputed key points of a recent Polish report into the disaster, dpa reported.
Kaczynski was among the 96 people who died in April 2010 when an airliner crashed near the town of Smolensk in western Russia.
The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee said Russian air traffic controllers had made no mistakes and had told the Polish crew that their plane was on course as it attempted to land in heavy fog.
A Polish report released Friday had laid much of the blame on poorly trained Polish pilots, but also found fault with inadequate Russian airport equipment and bad instructions from Russian air traffic controllers.
The report said that air traffic controllers had mistakenly told the crew that they were on the correct flight path when they had veered off course.
The Russian committee acknowledged that equipment at the airport had been faulty, but said this had not been a factor in causing the crash.
The committee also said the Polish air crew may have felt indirect psychological pressure to land because Air Force Chief Andrzej Blasik had entered the cockpit.
Blasik was heard saying on a flight recording that Kaczynski would be "unhappy" if the plane did not land on time, the Russian committee said.
However, the Polish report ruled out the possibility that such pressure on the crew may have contributed to causing the accident.
Poland and Russia each conducted their own, separate investigation into the causes of the crash.
Poles were critical of the Russian report, released in January, which many felt was biased and cleared Russia of any blame.