On the 83rd anniversary of the World War II mass murders, President Andrzej Duda commemorated the victims of the Soviet crime at a history museum in Warsaw.
He said during a wreath-laying ceremony that the massacre 83 years ago was "a crime of genocide" in which the Soviets aimed to "weaken and destroy" Poland "as a nation" by wiping out its intellectual elite.
He added that Russian atrocities in Ukraine today bore many similarities to the 1940 Katyn Massacre of Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviets.
Duda reiterated his message that those responsible for Russian war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable, state news agency PAP reported.
He said that "the crimes committed by the Russians in Ukraine must be punished" so that events such as "the Katyn Massacre never happen again."
Duda laid a wreath at a site known as the Katyn Epitaph and lit a candle at a memorial plaque outside the Katyn Museum in Warsaw's historic Citadel complex, the PAP news agency reported.
National memorial day
April 13 is in Poland a national day of remembrance for the victims of the WWII mass murders.
A host of events were held throughout the nation to observe the memorial day, which was established by the country’s parliament in 2007, news outlets reported.
Image: Polish Radio
Almost 22,000 Polish prisoners of war were killed in the spring of 1940 on orders from top Soviet authorities, according to estimates cited by public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.
Following the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, thousands of Polish officers were deported to camps in the Soviet Union.
POWs from camps in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov as well as Poles held in prisons run by the Soviet Union's NKVD secret police were among those murdered in April 1940.
Moscow for decades denied responsibility for the Katyn Massacre, while the topic was taboo when Poland after the war remained under Soviet control until 1989.
Source: IAR, PAP, polskieradio.pl
Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.