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Ban pays tribute after Polish leader and dozens of others are killed in plane crash

10 April 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his shock and sadness after learning of today's plane crash in western Russia that has killed the Polish President, his wife and many senior Government officials.

Lech Kaczynski, who had served as President since 2005, died alongside his wife Maria and more than 90 others when their plane crashed as it approached an airport in the Russian city of Smolensk.

Media reports say Poland's army chief, its central bank governor and many leading parliamentarians and historians are also among the dead. The Polish delegation had been travelling to Russia to attend a memorial event for the massacre of thousands of Poles by Soviet forces during World War II.

“On behalf of the United Nations, the Secretary-General expresses his deep and heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Poland and to the families of those who perished,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General said President Kaczynski had served his country and people with distinction and conviction, and was deservedly respected internationally. That he died en route to an event marking a new level of reconciliation between Poland and Russia is particularly poignant.”

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