This Sunday, Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski announced that the black box recordings of the TU-154 that crashed in the Smolensk forest would be given over to the Polish authorities and publicly released. However, their release is now being blocked by the Russian government.
Interior Minister Jerzy Miller had flown to Moscow on Sunday in order to collect the recordings and transcripts from the cockpit of the doomed plane, which had been examined by the Russian investigative team. On that day, Minister Kwiatkowski announced that the transcripts would be “presented to the public”.
Now, the Kremlin is saying that releasing the materials is against the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also called the Chicago Convention, which establishes rules of airspace as well as aircraft registration and safety. Specifically, the Convention protects materials that show an individual in a negative light but that do not have anything to do with the accident from being revealed, according to Minister Miller.
After this morning’s meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov in Moscow, Miller spoke to the press, stating: “Poland will be the owner of [the transcripts and recordings]. Russia will be informed if we decide to disclose anything. That’s what we agreed on – we won’t surprise each other with information which could have broader implications for any party.”
This about-face, while a necessary decision according to Miller, will undoubtedly not be looked upon favourably by the Polish press or the citizens of the country, who are still waiting for answers on what happened on 10 April.
See also: The Fog Surrounding Katyń