Warsaw, Poland (CNN) – World leaders' plans to reach Poland this weekend for the funeral of President Lech Kaczynski were in limbo as volcanic ash from Iceland continued to ground flights to and from Europe.
While French President Nicolas Sarkozy was already in Poland on Saturday and prepared to attend services the next day, other key leaders who planned to attend, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama, still faced possible cancellations due to the ash. The White House said Obama was scheduled to depart from Andrews Air Force Base late Saturday, but officials were still monitoring the situation.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, dignitaries and top military leaders were killed when their plane crashed in bad weather. They were on their way to a service commemorating Polish prisoners of war massacred in Russia during World War II.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will travel to Poland to attend the state funeral of the Polish president and first lady, who died in a plane crash last week, the White House announced Tuesday.
Obama will leave Saturday night for the funeral on Sunday in Krakow, Poland, for President Lech Kaczynski and first lady Maria Kaczynska, according to the White House statement.
"The president will travel to Krakow to express the depth of our condolences to an important and trusted ally, and our support for the Polish people, on behalf of the American people," the statement said.
(CNN) - World leaders, agencies and officials mourned the death of the Polish president, killed in a plane crash early Saturday.
President Barack Obama:
– "Today's loss is devastating to Poland, to the United States, and to the world. ... Today, there are heavy hearts across America. The United States cherishes its deep and abiding bonds with the people of Poland."
Former President George W. Bush
– "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the deaths of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and all those aboard their airplane. President Kaczynski was a strong defender of freedom and a friend to the United States. Laura and I have fond memories of our visits with the President and Maria. On this sad day, we send our heartfelt condolences to people of Poland, and especially to the families of all those lost in this tragic accident. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers. "
The U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley:
– "This is a horrible tragedy for Poland. We extend to the people of Poland our deepest condolences."
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(CNN) - Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed early Saturday along with his wife, several top military officials, and the head of the national bank when their plane crashed at a western Russian airport, officials said.
"There are no survivors," said Sergey Antufyev, the governor of Smolensk, where the plane was trying to land when it crashed.
A spokesman for Poland's Foreign Ministry, Piotr Paszkowski, said earlier that it was probable that everyone on board was killed.