Russia, Poland Agree On Disputed Crash Memorial

Russia and Poland today said they would agree on the text for a new memorial for the plane crash that killed president Lech Kaczynski after a bitter row over the replacement of a previous plaque.

Russia has angered Poland by replacing a Polish-language memorial at the site of the crash in Smolensk, Russia, which referred to the “genocide” of Polish officers by Soviet secret police at the nearby Katyn forest at the start of World War II.

The current version — in Russian and Polish — refers only to the April 10, 2010 air crash that killed Kaczynski and 95 other people.

Polish officials had been en route to Katyn, near Smolensk, to commemorate the Soviet-era massacre of some 22,000 Polish nationals by the Soviet secret police in 1940.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said today after talks with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski in Smolensk that they agreed on “the creation of a special international group” who would design the memorial.

Medvedev added that the killing of the Polish officers was a “crime” for which the Soviet leadership bore sole responsibility.

Komorowski, quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency, said that the text of the memorial would be in Polish and Russian and would be agreed upon by both sides.

compiled from agency reports

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