The Polish government has rejected Russia’s report on the air crash that killed Polish President Kaczynski and 96 others (h/t R):
“In the form it was sent, the report is indisputably unacceptable,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters Friday on the sidelines of the European Union summit in Brussels. “In the view of negligence, errors and a lack of positive reaction to Polish suggestions, we’re able to say that some conclusions in the report are baseless.”
The findings haven’t been made public, and Mr. Tusk didn’t offer any specifics about what conclusions he found objectionable. The government said earlier that the report would be made public but didn’t say when.
It is interesting to note that Tusk is not hardline, or reflexively anti-Russian, as Kazcynski was. Indeed, he has been engaged in something of a rapprochement with Russia, much to the chagrin of many Poles.
UPI reports that the Russians failed to take measures that are routine in any air crash investigation in the US or Europe–even those not involving heads of state of visiting countries:
Meanwhile, Warsaw prosecutors are investigating suspicions vital evidence was destroyed by the Russians, Poland Radio said.
Rafal Rogalski, a lawyer representing some the 96 victims’ families, told prosecutors the wreckage is being destroyed, citing a television report showing Russians cutting it into smaller pieces.
Poland has repeatedly asked Russia to protect the evidence, but it was only in October that the plane was fenced off and covered with tarpaulin.
Tusk noted that the Russians did not follow the Chicago Convention on air crash investigations. (Aside: whenever I see “Chicago” and “convention” in the same sentence, I have visions of riots. Vivid childhood memory.)
Let’s consider some possible explanations for Russian behavior: (a) coverup, (b) incompetence, (c) they just don’t give a damn. Hardly an appealing menu. Any other suggestions?
Poland and Russia have made some tentative steps towards improved relations. The sloppy handling–under the most charitable interpretation–of a matter of great sensitivity to Poland is hardly evidence for any genuine respect for that country in Russia. It will be interesting to see whether this disabuses Tusk and others of any illusions they might have about the possibility that Russia seriously contemplates anything remotely resembling a relationship between equals.
In any event, the way this was handled from the first reveals yet again, as if further evidence was needed, of Russia’s consummate skill at undermining its own interests.