Official: Poland to take Russia to court over plane wreckage

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2015 10:03 AM
Official: Poland to take Russia to court over plane wreckage

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's next foreign minister said Tuesday the country is fed up with waiting for Russia to return the wreckage of the plane that went down in Russia in 2010, killing the Polish president and 95 others, and plans to take Moscow to the European Court of Human Rights to get it back.

Witold Waszczykowski also said any improvement in ties between Russia and the West will have to be initiated by Moscow because Russia is to blame for the current tensions.

Waszczykowski's remarks reflect a tough stance toward Russia that can be expected by the incoming right-wing Law and Justice party after eight years of rule by the centrist Civic Platform party. Law and Justice won a parliamentary election on Oct. 25 and will be sworn in within the next days.

"It was Moscow who started the war with Georgia, Ukraine and now it's waging a third war in Syria, and we don't know why or for what. Russia broke international law," Waszczykowski told the private broadcaster TVN late Monday. "It is the geopolitical rival of the entire Western world."

"It will be hard to establish direct contact with the current authorities in Moscow because they are taking a stand that is relentlessly anti-Polish and imperialistic," Waszczykowski added.

Waszczykowski also criticized Russia for not returning the plane wreckage, a key point of contention between Russia and Poland. He said he considers it an "unfriendly" gesture on Russia's part not to have returned it yet.

The plane crash in April 2010 killed President Lech Kaczynski, the twin brother of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Law and Justice, which is returning to power after eight years in opposition.

Some members of Kaczynski's inner circle believe that the crash was not an accident, as Polish and Russia state investigations have determined, but was instead an assassination planned by Russia. Poland's incoming defense minister, Antoni Macierewicz, has suggested there could have been a bomb on board the plane.

Waszczykowski said Poland first plans to order an audit of the Russia crash report.

"Then we will go to the court in Strasbourg to regain Polish property," he said.