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Poland starts Kaczynski plane crash commemoration with prayer

WARSAW, April 10 — Poland started events on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski with a prayer.

Prayers will be held across the entire country on Sunday while the official commemoration ceremony will take place in Warsaw.

The Polish Air Force's Tu-154 that was carrying then-President Kaczynski and 95 others crashed in thick fog near the Russian city Smolensk on April 10, 2010. Everyone on board died. The high-ranking delegation was due to attend a memorial ceremony for the victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre, in which Soviet secret police killed thousands of Polish military officers.

The Russia-based Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in January laid the blame for the Kaczynski crash squarely on the Polish side, and some politicians in Poland have since lined up to try to pin blame elsewhere.

A day before the first anniversary of the Kaczynski plane crash, the families of the dead visited the site of the tragedy in western Russia.

Just as it was on April 10, 2010, the weather was harsh and unforgiving, with thick fog, sleet and a biting wind accompanying a speech by Polish First Lady Anna Komorowska.

"We are in a place that will forever now remain a painful area for our hearts and memories," Komorowska told the assembled relatives. "We cannot change what has happened and we cannot put back the clocks; we can only help one another."

The memorial ceremony was attended by 103 relatives of the dead. The names of all those who perished were read out by a Polish military official. Komorowska and the bereaved relatives then placed flowers and candles at the crash site. (PNA/RIA Novosti) scs/rsm

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