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Russia hands Poland final plane crash report

12 stycznia, 2011

Russia on Wednesday handed to Poland the final version of a report into the April air crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski amid claims in Warsaw that Moscow\'s probe is riddled with errors.

"The final report has been forwarded by the chairman of the technical commission to the authorised representative of Poland via the Polish embassy in Russia," the Moscow-based aviation commission known by its acronym MAK said in a statement.

It did not provide further details ahead of a news conference on the probe\'s findings scheduled to start at 0900 GMT.

Kaczynski died with 95 others when his presidential jet crashed on April 10, 2010, as it attempted to land in fog near the city of Smolensk in northwestern Russia.

Poland and its Soviet-era master Russia have had uneasy relations since the demise of Communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago. Yet Poles were struck by the level of public and official mourning in Russia following the tragedy.

But the crash and subsequent investigation have soon become highly politicised, with Poland sharply criticising Russia\'s handling of the crash probe.

After initially praising Moscow\'s cooperation, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk changed tack, calling the draft findings of the Russian investigation unacceptable and riddled with errors.

Russia has stressed that it is handing over full information to Poland and has made efforts to be open to the media. It handed Warsaw an initial 200-page report of its findings in October.

Earlier this month Poland\'s ambassador to Russia Wojciech Zajaczkowski called for Moscow to return the wreckage of its presidential plane as soon as possible.

The Polish presidential Russian-made Tupolev-154 crashed as it landed for a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of a World War II massacre of around 22,000 captured Polish officers by the Soviet secret police.

To further add to tensions surrounding the probe, Kaczynski\'s twin brother and ex-prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he doubted that a body entombed in a Polish cathedral was that of his brother.