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Polish President Lech Kaczyński dies as his plane crashes in Russia



According to the flight manifest, those on board included:



Lech Kaczyński, the President of Poland

Maria Kaczyńska, the first lady of Poland

Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish government-in-exile

Jerzy Szmajdziński, the Deputy Speaker of the Sejm

Władysław Stasiak, Chief of Office of the President of the Republic of Poland

Aleksander Szczygło, head of the National Security Bureau

Paweł Wypych, Secretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland

Mariusz Handzlik, Undersecretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland

Andrzej Kremer, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

General Franciszek Gągor, Chief of the Polish Army General Staff

Sławomir Skrzypek, President of the National Bank of Poland.

Andrzej Przewoźnik, Secretary-General of Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites and several members of the Sejm.



Several other Polish government figures were in the plane as well. None of the passengers survived the crash. Poland has declared a week of national mourning after the incident.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was immediately appointed by Dmitry Medvedev, the president, as the head of the commission to investigate the crash. The latter also sent Sergei Shoigu, the Russian minister of emergency situations, to the site of the crash.

[edit] 'Incredible tragedy': international reactions







It is definitely the most tragic event in the post-war history of Poland.









—Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk







Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk remarked that "[w]e stand in the face of an incredible tragedy, one of the biggest tragic events of our nation's history. It is definitely the most tragic event in the post-war history of Poland."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev commented that "All Russians are sharing in your grief and mourning. I promise that all the circumstances of this tragedy will be investigated most thoroughly, in closest cooperation with the Polish side. I have given exhaustive instructions to the law-enforcement agencies."

He added, "On behalf of the Russian people, I am expressing my deepest, most sincere condolences to the people of Poland, sympathy and support for the victims' families and friends." According to Medvedev, Monday the 12th will be a day of national mourning in Russia.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, noted, "I think the whole world will be saddened and in sorrow as a result of the tragic death in a plane crash of President Kaczynski and his wife Maria and the party that were with them."

"We know the difficulties that Poland has gone through, the sacrifices that he himself made as part of the Solidarity movement. We know the contribution he made to the independence and the freedom of Poland," he continued.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said of Kaczyński, "[He] devoted his life to his country. A tireless defender of the ideas in which he believed, he always battled with conviction for the values that founded his entry into politics: democracy, liberty and the fight against totalitarianism."







I remember many meetings with him on European and international levels, in the end we always found a solution.









—German Chancellor Angela Merkel







German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated, "This is a political and human tragedy for Poland, our neighbouring country. Lech Kaczyński was a real lobbyist for his country, he loved his country and he was an argumentative European."

Merkel also told of the memories she had of Kaczyński, saying: "I remember many meetings with him on European and international levels, in the end we always found a solution. I know that all of his life was dedicated to the fight for Poland's freedom and Europe's freedom. My husband and I fondly remember [his] invitation to his country house near Gdansk where we spent many, many hours talking about Polish and European history."

US President Barack Obama made statement saying, "Today, there are heavy hearts across America. The United States cherishes its deep and abiding bonds with the people of Poland. It is a testament to the strength of the Polish people that those who were lost were travelling to commemorate a devastating massacre of World War II as the leaders of a strong, vibrant, and free Poland."

Obama added, "That strength will ensure that Poland emerges from the depths of this unthinkable tragedy, and that the legacy of the leaders who died today will be a light that continues to guide Poland - and the world - in the direction of human progress."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Kaczynski served his country and people with distinction and conviction, and was deservedly respected internationally. That he died en route to an event marking a new level of reconciliation between Poland and Russia is particularly poignant."

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also expressed his condolences. "The tragic death of president Kaczincki of Poland is a great loss to the people of the Polish Republic and of course to the government of the Polish Republic," he said. "This has been an extraordinary tragedy involving the loss of nearly 100 people. On behalf of the Australian Government we extend our condolences to the Polish people, to the the Polish government and our thoughts and our prayers are with them all."



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