MOSCOW, April 10 (Reuters) - The pilot of the plane which crashed on Saturday, killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski, ignored several orders not to land from air traffic control, a Russian military official was quoted as saying.
Kaczynski, his wife and at least 95 others were killed when the aged Tupolev Tu-154 they were travelling in crashed in a forest while trying to land near the Russian city of Smolensk.
"At a distance of 2.5 km (1.5 miles) the head of air traffic control ascertained that the crew had increased the speed of the descent," the first deputy chief of the Russian Air Force's general staff, Alexander Alyoshin, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"The head of the air traffic control group gave a command to the crew to put the aircraft into the horizontal position and when the crew did not implement this order, several times gave orders to divert to an alternative airport," he said.
"Despite this, the crew continued the descent. Unfortunately this ended in tragedy," he said.
Kaczynski, a frequent critic of Moscow also known for his intransigence, was on his way to Katyn in western Russia to commemorate 22,000 Polish prisoners of war killed by the Soviet secret police in 1940.
Back in 2008, when Georgia and Russia fought their brief war, Kaczynski was on his way to Tbilisi to support Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, in what he saw as fight with the Kremlin's "new imperialism".
Air traffic control told the pilot of Kaczynski's plane to turn back because it was too dangerous to land in Tbilisi, but the president -- who also is commander in chief under Poland's law -- ordered the pilot to land anyway.
(Reporting by Dmitry Sergeyev in Moscow and Gabriela Baczynska in Warsaw, editing by Tim Pearce)
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively public debate through the Disqus system. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. The Kyiv Post will ban flagrant violators. If you think that a comment or commentator should be banned, please flag the offending material.
Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the
www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials
contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior
written permission of Public Media at firstname.lastname@example.org
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal
use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of