The Polish defense minister has resigned following the issuance of a report assigning blame to the air crash in Russia last year that killed the country’s president.
Bogdan Klich quit after the report placed much of the culpability for the disaster on inadequate pilot training.
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk accepted Klich’s decision. Tomasz Siemoniak, a deputy interior minister, will replaced Klich, Tusk informed reporters.
"There were serious shortcomings in the organization of the unit (of the air force responsible for handling VIP flights)," Maciej Lasek, a member of the investigative team, told a press conference in Warsaw.
"In order for the unit to carry out its tasks, deliberate decisions were made to disregard or break procedures, to conduct training not in line with training regulations. Pilots straight out of flying schools were accepted and no training flights were carried out."
In April 2010 a Polish Tupolev Tu-154 air force jet crashed at the Smolensk airport in western Russia amidst heavy fog, killing 96 people including President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and dozens of other Polish government officials.
Kaczynski and his party were on their way to Katyn, to commemorate the incident in 1940 when 20,000 Polish officers were massacred by Russians.
However, the 328-page report also blamed Russian air traffic control because they failed to properly warn the Polish pilot that the aircraft was moving too rapidly and too quickly as it approached Smolensk. In addition, the report determined that equipment and lighting at the Smolensk was sub-standard.
"One can even say that the calming directions from the control tower 'You're on course', 'you're on the right path' were misleading. The crew thought it had not committed any errors and that it was on the right approach path," said Jerzy Miller, chairman of the investigating committee and also Poland's interior minister.
Earlier, a report on the crash by Russian officials placed all the blame on Poland, which created some tensions between Warsaw and Moscow.