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10:16 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Pilot of Polish president's plane was advised not to land

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The pilot of the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski attempted to land in thick fog against the advice of air traffic controllers, Russia's top investigator said.

The pilot of the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski attempted to land in thick fog against the advice of air traffic controllers, Russia's top investigator said.

"Recordings confirm the nature of the discussions," Alexander Bastrykin reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who heads a commission on the disaster.

All 97 people on board a Soviet-made Tu-154 were killed earlier on Saturday when the plane hit trees as it approached a landing strip in west Russia's Smolensk in thick fog.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza paper said earlier the pilot and Kaczynski were advised to turn around and head for Minsk, the capital of neighboring Belarus, as the Smolensk military aerodrome lacked the necessary navigational equipment to receive planes in heavy fog.

Kaczynski, his wife, and a delegation of senior officials were on their way to a ceremony in Katyn forest to commemorate the memory of some 20,000 Polish officers killed by Soviet troops during World War Two.

SMOLENSK, April 10 (RIA Novosti)