TNT traces found on samples from Smoleńsk wreck: report

Polish “Sieci” weekly reports that British specialists from the UK Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL) found traces of TNT and other explosive materials on samples from the crash site of the Polish presidential plane in Smoleńsk, western Russia.

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The specialists from the laboratory examined more than 200 samples from the crash site, handed over by Polish prosecutors in 2017. According to the article in “Sieci”, traces of explosives “including TNT” were found “on the majority” of the samples.

The report emphasises that the task of FEL was not the interpretation of the results of the examination, but simply to answer the question of whether traces of explosives can be found on the samples.

The weekly writes that although confirmation of the presence of explosive material has a significant meaning for explaining the causes of the crash in Smoleńsk, it is too early to make any final hypotheses. In the opinion of the authors of the text, the investigation will last for a few more years.

The first reports about finding traces of TNT and other explosives in the site of the crash of the presidential plane in Smoleńsk were published in late October 2012 by “Rzeczpospolita” daily.

On April 10, 2010, the Polish presidential plane Tu-154m with 96 people onboard, including the President Lech Kaczyński and the First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, was flying to the commemorations of the Katyń Massacre in which the Soviet Union executed some 22,000 of Poland’s military officers and intelligentsia. The plane crashed in the morning near the Smoleńsk North Airport in Western Russia. All passengers and crew members died in the crash.

FEL is a part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence of the UK. It is known for examining samples from the Pan American aeroplane crash in Lockerbie in 1988, the terror attacks in London from 2005 and a recent attempt on the life of the Russian-British double agent Sergei Skripal.