The Associated Press WARSAW (AP) — Donald Tusk, freshly reelected to a top European Union job, has been summoned for questioning in Poland over the 2010 plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski, prosecutors said Monday.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, would come for the questioning. He has been summoned as a witness.
The leader of Poland’s ruling populist party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, blames his brother’s death on Tusk and takes every step to bring him to account. He says Tusk neglected the president’s security and then left the investigation of the crash in Russia’s hands.
Kaczynski said Monday he had “nothing to do” with the summons, but stressed that Tusk’s name is mentioned in many investigations concerning the time when he ran the government from 2007-2014.
He conceded, however, that efforts last week by Poland’s government to block Tusk’s reelection as EU Council head in Brussels had a “personal aspect.”
Michal Dziekanski, spokesman for Warsaw prosecutors, said that Tusk has been summoned for questioning Wednesday.
The case concerns cooperation in security that Poland’s military intelligence agreed on with Russia’s security services following the 2010 plane crash in Russia that killed Poland’s president.
Former SS commander wanted
WARSAW (AP) — Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man exposed by The Associated Press as a former commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II, prosecutors said Monday.
Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed “100 percent” that he was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.
He did not release the last name, in line with Poland’s privacy laws, but the AP has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.
“All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region,” Janicki said.
The decision in Poland comes four years after the AP published a story establishing that Michael Karkoc commanded the unit, based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir.
Karkoc’s family has repeatedly denied he was involved in any war crimes and his son questioned the validity of the evidence against him after Poland’s announcement, calling the accusations “scandalous and baseless slanders.”
“There’s nothing in the historical record that indicates my father had any role whatsoever in any type of war crime activity,” said Andriy Karkoc. He questioned the Polish investigation, saying “my father’s identity has never been in question nor has it ever been hidden.”
In Poland, prosecutor Andrzej Pozorski said Karkoc would be given a full opportunity to tell his story.
“This person has not been questioned in the capacity of a suspect so it is hard to react to his explanations, because we don’t know them,” said Pozorski, who heads the investigative team at a state institute.
Prosecutors with the National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, have asked a court in Lublin to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, as Poland does not allow trial in absentia, Janicki said.Speech