After attending a morning Mass, officials, including Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jarosław Kaczyński, laid wreaths at a statue commemorating President Lech Kaczyński in central Warsaw and at a separate monument in Piłsudski Square, unveiled in 2018 to honour all 96 victims of the disaster.
On Sunday morning, Polish President Andrzej Duda paid tribute to the late presidential couple in a crypt at Wawel Cathedral in the southern city of Kraków where they are laid to rest.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks in front of the historic Wawel Cathedral in Kraków to mark the 12th anniversary of the 2010 presidential plane crash in Smolensk, western Russia. Photo: PAP/Łukasz Gągulski
"Just as we saw that destroyed plane then, today we see the destroyed Ukraine. Just as we saw the bodies of those who died then, today we see the bodies of the murdered," Andrzej Duda said in his speech, referring to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Later he arrived in Warsaw to lay wreaths at the monument in Piłsudski Square and tombs of some of the victims in the Temple of Divine Providence in southern Warsaw's Wilanów district.
The country's top officials also took part in a raft of other ceremonies, including a wreath-laying event at a statue commemorating all 96 victims of the disaster at Warsaw’s Powązki military cemetery.
Meanwhile, a Polish delegation led by Poland's Ambassador to Russia, Krzysztof Krajewski, commemorated the victims of the crash at the site in Smolensk as well as at the Polish War Cemetery in Katyn.
In addition, to mark the 2010 presidential plane crash in Smolensk, western Russia, alarm sirens wailed across Polish cities at 8:41 CEST, the exact time of the catastrophe.
Public broadcaster Polish Radio paid homage to the victims of the 2010 disaster with a series of tributes.
Sunday marks exactly 12 years since a Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others, including top political and military figures, crashed near Smolensk, western Russia, killing all those on board.
The officials on the ill-fated flight had been on their way to commemorate some 22,000 Polish prisoners of war and intellectuals who were killed in the spring of 1940 on orders from top Soviet authorities in what is known as the Katyn Massacre.
The air disaster twelve years ago is still an open wound and a source of bitter dispute in Poland, with a team of investigators appointed by the country’s ruling conservatives conducting a new probe into the causes of the crash.
Last Friday, Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said in a radio interview there was "no doubt whatsoever" that the April 10, 2010 plane disaster near Smolensk, western Russia, happened as a result of an attack.
The ruling conservatives have long challenged an official report into the crash issued by the previous Polish government which cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport.