The 2010 Katyń Families Association

The information provided below is limited as much as possible to sources from the Polish Prosecution, Military Prosecution and governmental officials. Findings of international, independent academics and investigative journalists will be limited as much as possible in the text below.

The plane was carrying the Chief of the Armed Forces and the entire General Army Command of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.

- Lech Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland and Chief of the Armed Forces,

- Gen. Franciszek Gągor, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces,

- Lt. Gen. Tadeusz Buk, Commander in Chief of the Land Forces,

- Gen. Andrzej Blasik, Commander in Chief of the Air Forces,

- Fleet Admin. Andrzej Karweta, Commander in Chief of the Polish Navy,

- Lt. Gen. Włodzimierz Potasiński, Commander in Chief of the Special Forces,

- Gen. Bronisław Kwiatkowski, Operational Commander of the Armed Forces,

- Maj. Gen. Kazimierz Gilarski, Commander of the Warsaw Garrison.




  • - Before the Tu154M departure to Smolensk, the Polish Military Intelligence Service received notice in April 2010 of a possible abduction/hijacking threat to one of the EU Member States' planes. On April 9, 2010, the Anti-Terrorist Centre sent a notice of a possible terrorist attack to the Military Counterintelligence Centre, the Internal Security Agency and the Government Protection Bureau. In a written statement the Military Intelligence acknowledged that it received information and was warned of a possible terrorist threat against one of the EU Member States' aircraft. Further, Colonel Andrzej Pawlikowski, former chief of the Government Protection Bureau, clarified in an interview that "according to the information I obtained, our secret services received notice from one of the intelligence agencies operating in the territory of the European Union that one of the aircrafts may be hijacked. It concerned an aircraft carrying one of the EU Member States' leaders."


  • - The airport in Smolensk has not been at any point investigated nor has it undergone any security clearance by the Polish Governmental Protection Bureau having been refused entry by Russian authorities. Nevertheless, the flight was given green light for take-off and went ahead. Furthermore, the Polish Ministry of Defence did not provide the military Generals on board the plane with protection. No military team or task force was sent to Smolensk, no military or Governmental Protection Bureau officer were present on the landing strip when the plane crashed.


  • - Over an hour before the approach of the presidential Tu-154M plane to the Smolensk airport, a Russian Il-76 plane supposedly carrying transportation and protection for the presidential delegation, touched the landing strip with its wheels but ultimately pulled up before slowing down and flew away. To this day there is no explanation for this event (The plane was supposedly, carrying vehicles and protection officers, according to one of the Smolensk control tower staff).


  • - During the crash, there were no Polish Government Protection Bureau (BOR) officers, and there were no cars or transport waiting for the delegation on the landing strip, ready to take them from the airport to the Katyn memorial site, or any journalists waiting for the Polish delegation. There were no pyrotechnics at the airport designated to the check the cars. The lack of transport for the 96 member delegation should have been notified to a BOR superior (who was not there) and in turn to the Minister of the Interior and Administration. There should have been at least 12 vehicles ready to transport the delegation from the airport to the Katyn memorial site with at least two Russian vehicles - one opening and one closing the column. According to transcripts of the recorded tower voice conversations, cars along with protection for the Polish delegation were inside the Il-76 plane, which, unfortunately, for unknown reasons, did not land, with the pilots only touching the landing strip with the wheels but eventually picking up the plane and flying away (over an hour before the Tu154 approach). Since the Il-76, supposedly carrying transportation and protection for the delegation, for unknown reasons did not land, over an hour before the Tu-154M, then why was the Polish crew not informed of this and why was the polish presidential plane not diverted and given permission to descend, supposedly to a 100 meters (according to witnesses - 50 meters, thus breaching regulation) and make a landing approach?


  • - The crew of the plane was wrongly informed by the Russian tower about the course and glide path – in fact, the plane was above the gliding path and of course (discrepancy in 700-800 meters), despite being reassured throughout by the tower of their correct position. The control tower told the crew their position was 800 meters closer to the runway. The control tower until the last moment reassured the crew of their correct position – no flight corrections were made by the tower. Air traffic controllers in Smolensk, despite weather conditions and poor visibility failed to close down the airport. On the day, flight guidance from the Smolensk-Severny airport was dealt with by four Russian army officers: Colonel Nikolai Kransokutski (commanding officer on the day at the main tower in Smolensk), Lt.-Col Paweł Plusin, Major Wiktor Ryzenko and Major W. W. Łubancew. During the flight, Lt.-Col. Plusin conducted on-going telephone consultations with the on duty emergency operator of the Air Force Military Transport Headquarters Command Unit of the Russian Federation in Moscow - Codenamed "Logic". Whereas, Col. Krasnokutski conducted on-going consultations with the headquarters in Tver and the Air Force Command in Moscow. As a result of these discussions and consultations, the airport was not closed and the TU154 was not diverted to an alternative airport.


  • - Jerzy Artymiak, the Chief Military Prosecutor has stated that the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office has not ruled out the possibility of third party deliberate involvement in Smolensk - a case still being investigated by Polish prosecutors. "At present, none of the investigated options, including the option of potential intentional action of third parties, which could lead to the crash, has not been ruled out yet and all of them are being examined"– wrote Jerzy Artymiak. "The present status of investigation does not enable us to specify even the approximate date of termination of investigation”. According to the Chief Military Prosecutor, substantial termination of the case “depends on the reception of all evidence and materials from competent bodies of the Russian Federation and on obtaining many opinions from investigators”.


  • - All original evidence, including the wreckage and black boxes (property of the Poland) are still in the hands of Russian authorities. From the start, Polish authorities worked on copies made by Russian authorities of the original evidence material. These copies were such that the Polish Prosecution openly admitted that they were unable to use them or perform any operations. On numerous occasions the Polish Prosecution had to turn to Russian authorities with requests for better quality copies.  The wreckage had been destroyed, cut, moved and dropped on a nearby stripe at the Smolensk Airport where it has been kept to this day exposed to weather conditions. The Polish committee based its report almost exclusively on the information received from the Russians (with black boxes and wreckage still being in Russia today). The committee did not even have access to the basic evidence necessary to conduct a thorough examination (e.g. the wreckage and black boxes). It only had copies of some evidence selected by the Russians.





  • - Former Polish expert accredited to the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) Edmund Klich admitted on Polish RMF FM radio on 16.04.2012 that there was a tendency to direct the investigation into a human error factor and blame the pilots. He complained about the lack of support from the Polish government to those present at the scene in Russia.This was my impression, during my stay at the scene, [...] receiving phone calls from different Ministries, [...] that there was a tendency to point and believe in pilots error, and that they should be presented as responsible. [...] The experts that were with me in Smolensk did inspect the wreckage, at least some of them did, but in fact it was rather a visual inspection than examining [...] but they never showed any factual results of their work.” – said Edmund Klich. Klich also complained about the lack of support from the Polish government whilst his stay in Russia. “I think the biggest mistake was a lack of support from Warsaw to all those present at the scene; firstly in Smolensk, secondly in Moscow [...] In fact there was no support at all; neither legal nor otherwise. When we passed on information that we had not been delivered from the Russians data we required and which was due under Annex13 of Chicago Convention there was no reaction and the issue was not publicised. It was evident that the Russian breached an agreement they accepted in the first place”. said Klich.


  • - Every year Warsaw hosts a two day conference on the Smolensk incident, with the participation of a large number of independent academics, scientists, experts and relatives of the Smolensk plane crash - a third conference of this type took place in October 2014, with the second and first organised respectively back in October 2013 and 2012. All three conferences were independently initiated and financed by the Polish academic scientific community and were attended by worldwide academics, scientists, independent scholars, experts and researches; presenting their cases in respective fields. All participants unanimously agreed that the fundamental flaws lie in the fact that Smolensk plane crash has never actually been investigated, that the official versions behind the April 10th, 2010 presented in both Polish and Russian report raised sever doubts concerning credibility and that the investigations were carried under Russian guidance - with the study of evidence and investigation dictated by Russian authorities. After 4 years since the crash findings indicate without any doubt that the TU154M aircraft was destroyed by detonations on board the plane and that the official Russian and Polish governmental investigations of the disaster from the very beginning were nothing short of a scandal. Both reports appear to have been scribbled down in ambiguous circumstances, both are contradictory in their findings, many of which have been proven to be false and unfounded, subsequently giving a misleading picture and set of circumstances into the death of 96 Polish and EU citizens.


The Smolensk case is very complex and detailed but not a day has gone by in Poland without a Smolensk story in the Polish press. However, today, thanks to the work and own initiative of many worldwide independent academics and investigative journalists details of the actual events have been made available to the Polish public opinion.

What happened?

The plane made one approach; the crew descended the plane to a decisive height of 100m and decided to "go-around" (official term used for pulling-up and circling around the airport). The crew began this manoeuvre. This process is reflected in the flight trajectory recorded in TAWS and FMS data, as also in the cabin voice recordings, where the command to circle the airport around was given by the Captain to stop descent - i.e. not to attempt a landing approach - all in the manner generally accepted, appropriately and according to regulations. The Captain's command to "go-around" was repeated by the second pilot. However, the plane continued its descent. As the aircraft was beginning to gain altitude two explosions occurred - one on the left wing and another in the passenger section.


The pilots of the Tu154M were military pilots, with the 1st and 2nd pilot with individually over 3.5 thousand hours of flight behind them. The crew was well-integrated and understood each other well – they flew together a few dozen times, including a really difficult flight from Haiti over the Atlantic with a damaged autopilot module, when they piloted the plane manually for 14 hours, including three refuelling stops. The crew knew Russian perfectly, as until recently, learning Russian was obligatory in the Polish military air force. The 1st pilot Captain Protasiuk flew 30 times to Russia and the Ukraine.


Further reading: The Smolensk Reader's Digest. 23 pages, all the facts.