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Poland reopens investigation into 2010 presidential plane crash

Poland's new government has said it will again investigate the fatal plane crash that claimed the then-president's life. Officials believe there was hidden evidence pointing to Russia's involvement.

Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz on Thursday announced the decision to reopen the inquiry, suggesting that previous findings had deliberately ignored crucial evidence pointing to the cause of the crash.

In 2010, Poland's then-president, Lech Kaczynski, was killed along with everyone else on board when his plane crashed while headed to a political ceremony in Russia. The initial investigation blamed pilot error for the crash, but many - including more than 20 percent of Polish people, according to a recent poll - believe it was an assassination.

Macierewicz hinted that a midair explosion might have caused the crash, noting that the plane had disintegrated before hitting the ground.

Taking aim at Russia

Polen Lech Kaczynski (R) und Jaroslaw Kaczynski

(Right to left) Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw, is the leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in October after eight years in opposition. Though PiS has never outright accused Russia of causing the crash, it has alluded to it, even going so far as to reiterate that an explosion may have been responsible for bringing down the plane.

In addition, the Polish party has said Russia benefitted from the crash, which claimed the lives of other high-ranking officials as well, including the head of the central bank and several top military leaders.

Responding to Poland's decision to launch a new probe into the plane crash, a Russian government spokeswoman said: "I hope that this is not linked to politics. This hope is a faint one, but it still exists."

blc/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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