Kaczynski's Katyn Trip to Russia Problematic till Last Moment
Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s trip to the site of the Katyn Massacre in Russia on which his plane crashed was problematic until the last minute almost causing a diplomatic scandal.
On February 3, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invited his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk to remember jointly the 70th year since the Katyn Massacre in which Soviet agents slaughtered some 20 000 Polish military officers in 1940. Tusk is a political opponent of Kaczynski; in fact, the two faced one another in the 2005 Presidential elections won by the latter.
Putin and Tusk attended a joint remembrance ceremony of the Katyn Massacre on April 7, 2010, as was previously agreed.
President Kaczynski had decided to attend the Katyn Massacre site near Smolensk three days later, on April 10, 2010, together with a group of other senior officials, historians, and war veterans.
Until the last moment, however, the details of his trip were hanging in the year, as the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed it had not been notified properly about Kaczynski’s intention to visit the Katyn Massacre site.
“Poland’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to us that President Kaczynski plans to visit Katyn on 10 April in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the tragedy. However, no formal, written information as to how the Polish side imagines this project has been received. As a result, we cannot start procedures for the preparation of the visit by the Polish president. We hope that official information will reach us soon,” stated on March 15, 2010, Russian Ambassador to Poland, Vladimir Grinin, as cited by Polish English-language site thenews.pl.
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