English Section

Polish president, 95 others 'brutally killed by Putin 12 years ago': Pentagon ex-chief

14.04.2022 15:15
Former US Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller has claimed that former Polish President Lech Kaczyński and 95 other top officials who died in an air crash in western Russia in 2010 were "brutally killed" by Vladimir Putin, according to a recording.
Christopher Miller
Christopher MillerEPA/TOM WILLIAMS

"This weekend I was honored to watch the memorial celebrations for President Kaczyński and the [95] other Poles who were brutally killed by Putin 12 years ago," Miller said in an interview with Polish broadcaster Radio Wnet, according to a recording posted on Thursday by the wpolityce.pl website.

He added: "We know what Putin is doing and that's why I'm here ... to make sure the West does not forget and remembers the lessons of history. And it's happening again, and we cannot let Putin and his tyranny, and his totalitarianism and his killing, stand."

Referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Miller said: "Many people in the United States and the West spend too much thinking about the details. It's very simple: Putin is a thug and a bully and he must be stood up to."

He added: "And the people of Poland and the people of Ukraine recognize that and are doing that. If we don't stand up to him here, we'll have to do it later."

Miller served as US acting secretary of defense under President Donald Trump from November 9, 2020 to January 20, 2021.

He was speaking to the Polish broadcaster after Poland's top officials took part in events on Sunday to mark the 12th anniversary of the fatal presidential plane crash near Smolensk, western Russia, which killed all 96 on board, including then-President Lech Kaczyński.

On Monday, the head of a Polish government panel reinvestigating the 2010 crash said the disaster 12 years ago was caused by “at least two blasts" and by “political factors.”

In a 338-page report released on Monday, the panel declared that “a blast in the left wing of the aircraft is proof of interference by Russia,” according to the chief investigator, Antoni Macierewicz, a former defence minister.

Macierewicz told reporters that the 2010 Smolensk air disaster had been caused “by an act of illegal interference by the Russian Federation into the Tu-154M plane carrying the delegation of the president of the Republic of Poland.” 

The plane crash near the western Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, 2010, killed Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and dozens of top officials. It is still a source of controversy and recriminations.

The new Polish commission to reinvestigate the crash was set up by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in 2015.

The party's head, Jarosław Kaczyński, is the twin brother of the late President Lech Kaczyński.

The ruling conservatives had 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.

A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.


Source: wpolityce.pl