Anxious about refugees, Polish cities reject memorial sirens

Apr 9, 2022, 11:45 AM | Updated: 12:16 pm

People return back to Ukraine at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, Saturday, Apri...

People return back to Ukraine at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, Saturday, April 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Anxious about the wellbeing of their Ukrainian refugees, city mayors across Poland are refusing the government’s instructions to sound air raid alarm sirens Sunday as part of memorial observances for Poland’s 2010 presidential plane crash.

The right-wing central government wants the sirens to go off at 0641 GMT Sunday, the exact time the plane crashed in Russia 12 years ago, killing President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other prominent Poles.

Kaczynski was the twin of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is the ruling Law and Justice party’s leader and Poland’s key politician.

But city mayors, who represent local governments, are refusing to do that, saying it will be an unnecessary trauma for people — especially children — who recently fled their homes at the sound of air raid sirens and headed to shelters to avoid Russian bombings since it attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24.

More than 2.5 million refugees from Ukraine have sought security in neighboring Poland and are staying at special reception centers or with private people. Many need psychological assistance to deal with their trauma.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki insisted Saturday that the 2010 plane crash was a national tragedy and its victims merit every form of commemoration. He said text messages were being sent to refugees to explain that the sirens mean no danger.

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish government is reviving its controversial allegation that the crash on April 10, 2010, which killed the president, the first lady and other leading political figures, was a Kremlin assassination plan. Sunday’s observances are being given special attention.

But local governments, often run by opposition politicians, say the use of air raid sirens for the anniversary is “extremely irresponsible.”

The sirens also bring frightful associations to many Poles who either experienced World War II as small children or watched documentaries of the country’s destruction during the war.

“We will not sound the sirens on the anniversary,” said Rafal Bruski, mayor of the central city of Bydgoszcz. “I have seen too many children terrified by war.”

Bruski said he has grown accustomed to many “unwise” decisions by the current right-wing government “but there are limits to stupidity.”


Follow all AP stories about developments in the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

23 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

24 hours ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

2 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

3 days ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

3 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Anxious about refugees, Polish cities reject memorial sirens