May 31, 2010 / 7:30 PM / 8 years ago

Russia hands over plane crash recordings to Poland

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia agreed Monday to give Poland copies of cockpit recordings as part of an investigation into last month’s plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Flight recorders from the crashed TU-154 Polish military plane are displayed at a laboratory of the Intergovernmental Aircraft Committee in Moscow, May 31, 2010. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin

During a meeting in Moscow, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov and Polish Interior Minister Jerzy Miller signed an agreement allowing Poland to obtain the recordings.

Under the deal, the original black box recordings will stay in Russia until the investigation is completed.

“Handing over the copies does not mean the investigation is over,” Ivanov said during the meeting.

Kaczynski’s plane — a Russian-built TU-154 aircraft — crashed outside Russia’s Smolensk airport on April 10, killing the Polish leader and 95 others.

Chairman of the Intergovernmental Aircraft Committee Tatyana Anodina (R) and Poland's Interior Minister Jerzy Miller take part in a ceremony of handing over copies of flight recordings from the investigation of the TU-154 Polish military plane crash in Moscow, May 31, 2010. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin

Among those who died with Kaczynski were the heads of Poland’s army and navy, its central bank governor, lawmakers and members of the presidential administration.

The Polish leader was running late for a planned ceremony in nearby Katyn forest marking the 70th anniversary of the murder of some 22,000 Polish army officers and intellectuals there by the Soviet NKVD secret police.

During the Moscow meeting, Ivanov and Miller praised cooperation between their countries as transparent and unprecedented. Handing over the copies will help Poland with its own investigation and analysis of the crash.

Ivanov said that under an international agreement on plane crash investigations, not all data can be made public before the case is closed, including communication between the pilots and control towers.

Miller told reporters after the meeting that the sides had agreed there would be no “surprises” when it comes to publication of information, adding however that it is up to Warsaw to decide which data should be made public.

Miller said: “The Russian side will be informed in advance, but we do not need consent to make this public.”

Poles will elect a new president on June 20. Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw is running for the post but is expected to take second place behind Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Tusk’s centrist ruling Civic Platform.

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