Smolensk Air Disaster a result of unlawful interference: investigation report

The Smolensk Air Disaster was the result of an explosion; the commission thus cancels the report of the commission by Jerzy Miller from July 29, 2011, said Antoni Marcierewicz, the head of the Investigative Sub-committee, which published the report, consisting of 338 pages and thousands-pages-long appendixes on Monday.

Mr Macierewicz said that based on a number of simulations, the moment of the plane’s collision was recreated and investigated. The immediate aftermath of the crash was also reconstructed thanks to simulations and pyrotechnic experiments. The traces of explosive materials found on the wreck of the plane were examined by Polish and US institutions. According to Antoni Macierewicz, the report could serve as a basis for actions in the international arena, among others, for a possible complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

The evidence analysed under the investigation was provided by Polish governmental institutions, including the MFA, Defence Ministry and Internal Ministry.

Evidence and Russia’s report deliberately altered

Mr Macierewicz also said that evidence was deliberately destroyed, distorted and altered under the then government of the Civic Platform-Polish People’s Party (PO-PSL), led by the then PM Donald Tusk, later the head of the European Council.

Mr Macierewicz stated that the Russian report on the causes of the plane crash, known as Anodina’s report, was marred with deliberate untruths. Russia’s activities, including those influenced by the highest echelons of the Russian authority, namely President Vladimir Putin, resulted in an obfuscation of the investigation.

Cause of crash

The cause of the plane crash was an explosion in the left wing of the aircraft that took place 100 meters away from a birch tree, an object previously suspected of causing fatal damage to the plane, in a space free from obstacles. The consequence of the explosion was another explosion in the central part of the aerofoil, which killed the entire 96-person-strong delegation.

The explosions in the wing of the plane were corroborated by a total of five pieces of evidence, including experiments using models of the Tu-154 aircraft.

These events were preceded by two deliberate acts of deception by the Russian side, namely a change of aeroports and a purposeful misleading of the Polish pilots.

The investigation materials suggesting a cause other than an explosion were in fact manipulated and fabricated, Mr Macierewicz said.

Over 20 eye-witnesses approached by the Sub-committee saw or heard the explosion of the plane, Mr Macierewicz said, adding that his team interrogated a total of 200 witnesses in the course of the investigation.

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More evidence of explosions

The information about discovering RDX and TNT was concealed by the Russian Army Prosecutor’s Office. In 89 out of 238 analysed samples, including those acquired from the left wing, a British laboratory found traces of RDX and TNT.

Mr Macierewicz said that the presence of metallic aluminium proves the use of a bomb that brought about a thermobaric explosion, which is produced by thermobaric weapons (also called an aerosol bomb, a vacuum bomb or a fuel-air explosive). The head of the Sub-committee also recalled that the same type of weapons, namely vacuum bombs, were used during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The report also shows that metal fragments of the hull were coiled outward, which signifies an explosion.

On April 11, 2010, the day of the crash, Russian services used an angle grinder to cut the remnants of the hull to pieces so as to obfuscate evidence of the explosion and hamper an efficient investigation. The Russian services also lied when saying that the roof of the plane’s hull had been thoroughly destroyed, whereas in reality it had been only fragmented and then deliberately destroyed by the Russian services. These actions were not recorded by Russian investigation officers. These actions confirm an attempt at distortion of the investigation.

Comparing the forces generated by the engines and by the pressure recorded in the rear of the plane at the moment of the explosion led the Sub-committee to conclude that the plane’s engines could not generate the pressure evidenced in the rear of the plane. This further confirms that the explosion in the central part of the aerofoil tore the rivets of the plane’s tail and led to the crash.

Body analyses

Some of the bodies of the plane crash victims contained shards and particles of the plane — a bodily damage characteristic for victims of explosions, not a collision with the ground.

On inspection of the bodies, 33 percent were found to contain one to two fragments of the plane, 12 percent had over 10 and 65 were intact. At least 47 percent of the bodies showed signs of burn wounds, although the victims incurred the damage before their clothing was ripped off by the explosion, another characteristic feature of an explosion.