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Russia to start repatriation of plane crash victims to Poland on Tuesday

© RIA Novosti . Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankThe site of the Polish president plane crash
The site of the Polish president plane crash - Sputnik International
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Russia will begin on Tuesday repatriating the bodies recovered in the wreckage of a Polish plane, which crashed last Saturday near the western Russian city of Smolensk killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski, as well as his wife and a large delegation traveling with him

Russia will begin on Tuesday repatriating the bodies recovered in the wreckage of a Polish plane, which crashed last Saturday near the western Russian city of Smolensk killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski, as well as his wife and a large delegation traveling with him.

Moscow's First Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov said on Monday that Russia will send the identified bodies to Poland "starting from tomorrow [Tuesday], without waiting for complete identification" of all the remains, which have been recovered at the crash site.

A Soviet-made TU-154 carrying a top-level delegation hit the top of trees as it attempted to land at an airport in western Russia in thick fog on Saturday morning, killing all 96 people on board.

A total of 87 dead bodies have so far been recovered. They are being sent to Moscow for identification procedures.

Biryukov said the procedures might be completed in two or three days.

"Specialists are now working with the relatives. This work will continue, step by step. Our task is to speed up the process and to arrange the transportation for the bodies," he said.

Russian Health Minister Tatyana Golikova told journalists earlier on Monday that 24 bodies had already been identified, including the late president Lech Kaczynski, who now lies in state in the country's presidential palace, and first lady Maria Kaczynski.

More than 110 relatives of the deceased have already arrived in the Russian capital and another 100 are still expected.

A special headquarters has been set up by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov to provide assistance to the relatives. The Russian capital has taken upon itself all the expenses for accommodating the visitors.

"We have 200 hotel rooms [for the relatives]. Some 70 of them are now vacant," Biryukov said.

MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti)

 

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