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05:12 GMT +3 hours23 December 2014
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Medvedev calls for Russian-Polish unity after Kaczynski's death

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The Russian and Polish peoples should unite in the aftermath of the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in western Russia earlier on Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

The Russian and Polish peoples should unite in the aftermath of the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in western Russia earlier on Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

A Kremlin statement said Medvedev made the comment in a phone conversation with Poland's acting president, Bronislaw Komorowski.

"It was noted during the conversation that the loss is irreparable, but precisely in these difficult days a consolidation of peoples is very important to jointly to overcome the consequences of this terrible tragedy," a Kremlin statement quoted Medvedev as saying.

Medvedev also told the acting Polish leader that Russia would hold a thorough investigation into the crash.

Kaczynski was flying to Russia to take part in ceremonies honoring thousands of Polish officers taken prisoner by the Red Army during its invasion of Poland in the first days of World War Two and executed by Soviet secret police in Katyn forest near the city of Smolensk in 1940.

The legacy of the Katyn killings has strained modern Russian-Polish relations. But earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk jointly took part in memorial ceremonies in Katyn in a sign that the two Slavic nations were attempting to put the event behind them.

MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti)