Head of Russian football federation honours Poles killed in 2010 plane crash in Russia - InfoNews

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Head of Russian football federation honours Poles killed in 2010 plane crash in Russia

Russia team coach Dick Advocaat, left, and President of Russian football federation Sergei Fursenko, right, lay a wreath of roses at a plaque at the presidential palace in Warsaw Sunday, June 10, 2012 to honor the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and dozens of officials who were killed two years ago in a plane crash in thick fog near Smolensk, Russia. The symbolic gesture came amid ongoing tensions between Poland and Russia based on a difficult history of war and occupation as well as new distrust that has emerged in the aftermath of the crash. Poland is playing Russia in a Euro 2012 Group A match scheduled for Tuesday, June 12. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
June 10, 2012 - 9:16 AM

WARSAW, Poland - The head of the Russian football federation placed a wreath in Warsaw on Sunday to honour the Polish president and 95 others killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia.

The symbolic gesture came amid ongoing tensions between Poland and Russia based on a difficult history of war and occupation as well as new distrust that has emerged in the aftermath of the crash. The countries play each other in the European Championship on Tuesday.

Sergei Fursenko placed a wreath of pale pink roses, crossed himself and bowed his head solemnly before a plaque at the presidential palace in the Polish capital. He was joined by Russia coach Dick Advocaat, who is Dutch.

Nearby, about 100 Poles were holding their own ceremony honouring President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of officials who were killed two years ago in a plane crash in thick fog near Smolensk, Russia. They hold such commemorations on the 10th of each month because the crash occurred on April 10.

Polish authorities were worried that tensions could arise Sunday because the Russian football squad is staying in a hotel next to the spot where the monthly observances take place, ahead of the team's final two Euro 2012 group games in Warsaw.

Fursenko was surrounded by aides and reporters and had no contact with the Poles, who were praying at a spot a few meters away.

Though a Polish investigation determined that the crash was an accident caused by pilot error and other factors, some Poles hold to conspiracy theories claiming the Russians intentionally brought down the plane carrying Kaczynski, a former anti-communist dissident who always remained critical of Russia.

Many Poles find the conspiracy theories ridiculous, yet most are still unhappy at the way the Russians have handled the investigation and aftermath of the crash. Some of the autopsies that Russians carried out contained mistakes, and many Poles are upset that Russian authorities still have not allowed the plane wreckage to be handed over to Poland.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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