: Poland marks six-year anniversary of Smolensk tragedy (photo gallery)

15:38 Apr. 10, 2016

Poland marks six-year anniversary of Smolensk tragedy (photo gallery)

A man holds a portrait of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski during a ceremony to mark the sixth anniversary of the crash of the Polish government plane in Smolensk, Russia, that killed 96 people on in Warsaw, Poland, April 10, 2016 (AP Photo)

President Lech Kaczynski and the 95 others died in 2010 plane crash in Russia

Poland is commemorating the victims of the deadly aircraft disaster, which killed 96 people including country's then-President Lech Kaczynski with his wife, the former President in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, 18 Members of Parliament and high-ranking officials.

They were flying to Russia's Smolensk to attend the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre - a series of mass executions of Poles carried out by the Soviet Secret police in 1940. But as the aircraft was descending, it reportedly struck trees and crashed near the airport.

The anniversary is the first since the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in October. PiS is headed by Jarosław Kaczynski, twin brother of former president Lech Kaczynski.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his followers claim they have evidence that "almost certainly" proves that the president's plane fell into pieces in mid-air from as it was preparing to land at Smolensk airport.

Read also Smolensk crash: 'There were explosions on board of presidential Tu-154'

In February 2016, Poland decided to resume the inquiry into the crash after the country's Minister of Defence Antoni Macierewicz said the crash was an act of terrorism.

Read also Reports surface in Polish media about Russia's alleged replacement of Smolensk crash victims' bodies

Russian officials denounced Macierewicz's comments as "unfounded and inadequate." However, Kremlin refuses to hand over the wreckage of the plane to the Polish side, "until the investigation is over." 

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