President Medvedev ordered the establishment of a government commission headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to investigate all the circumstances of the disaster.
At the President’s instruction Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Sergei Shoigu, Transport Minister Igor Levitin, and First Deputy Prosecutor General and Chairman of the Prosecutor General’s Office Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin flew immediately to the crash site.
The Tu-154 airplane flying from Warsaw to Smolensk crashed on its landing approach some 300 to 400 metres off the runway of Smolensk-North military aerodrome. Russian law enforcement agencies have reported that no passengers survived.
Polish authorities confirmed that aboard the plane were President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his spouse Maria Kaczynska, as well as Polish senior officials, politicians and public figures.
President Lech Kaczynski was to make a private visit to the Katyn cemetery near Smolensk, the site of Russia’s first international memorial complex to the victims of totalitarian repression.