Beginning of Meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: A tragedy, a very serious tragedy has occurred. The President of Poland, his wife, and a considerable number of Polish citizens who were flying to Russia, to Smolensk Region, died.
I signed an order establishing a government commission to be headed by the Prime Minister. I also have instructed the law enforcement agencies – [the Prosecutor General’s Office] Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the special services – to conduct the most thorough investigation possible into all the circumstances of this tragedy and to do so in cooperation with their Polish colleagues. Together, in accordance with both Russian and Polish law, they will therefore be able to investigate thoroughly all the circumstances of this tragic incident.
And of course we must do everything to ensure that all organizational and technical measures that necessarily accompany such incidents are exhaustive and taken in close contact with our Polish partners.
I talked on the phone with Marshal of the Polish Sejm [Bronislaw Komorowski], currently acting head of state, and the Polish Prime Minister [Donald Tusk] in order to arrange all necessary proceedings. I know that you also spoke with Mr Tusk. What steps are our Polish colleagues planning to make?
Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin: Indeed, this is a terrible tragedy. I talked to the Prime Minister [of Poland] and expressed my condolences. As we just discussed, nothing like this [tragedy] has ever happened before. The Prime Minister of Poland expressed his desire to visit the crash site. I’ll meet him and together we will visit the site of the disaster.
I have just signed an order on the composition of the government commission [to investigate the circumstances of the crash]. Of course, the bodies will be brought to Moscow for identification and then we will arrange everything necessary to meet the relatives [of the victims], those who are willing and able to come to Russia. We will also organise all other work involved in implementing the commission’s action plan.
Today I have already spoken with the Mayor of Moscow [Yury Luzhkov]. In Moscow a special headquarters will be set up, the [contact] details of which will be communicated to the public via media.
The carriers will operate so as to minimize all travel costs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation will do its best to ensure that without delay or red tape those citizens of Poland who wish to come to Russia will receive the necessary visa support.
There is nothing to say. One can only sympathize, truly sympathize with the bereaved families.
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, this is a horrible tragedy – an unprecedented one. We agreed that we would proceed in a close contact with the Acting President of Poland and the Prime Minister, and with all who participate in mourning practices, and simply help the families and friends of the victims who travel to Moscow for the bodies’ identification.
Vladimir Putin: Our delegation arrived on the scene of the accident just a few minutes ago and, according to your instruction, first met with Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy [to the Central Federal District Georgy] Poltavchenko. They went directly to the crash site. The Emergencies Minister [Sergei Shoigu], Transport Minister [Igor Levitin] and representatives of the Healthcare Ministry are all there now: all ministries and agencies are working.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good. Mr Poltavchenko was actually the first one I spoke to, because he was even able to get to the site of this awful disaster before the rescue teams. We will keep working.