William thanks British troops for ‘defending our freedoms’ on trip to Poland

The Prince of Wales thanked British troops located about an hour’s drive from the Ukrainian border for “standing up for our freedoms” by embarking on a surprise trip to Poland.

William told soldiers at a military air defense base in the southeastern Polish city of Rzeszow that their job to “monitor” the situation in Ukraine is “really important.”

After arriving at the base on Wednesday afternoon, the prince, dressed casually in a black jacket and pants, was shown a missile launcher.

William said the two-day trip will allow him to personally thank the troops and pay tribute to the “inspiring humanity of the Polish people” helping Ukrainian refugees.

Turning to the soldiers, he said: “I just wanted to come here in person to thank you for all you’re doing, keeping everyone safe here and keeping an eye on what’s going on.

“So, just a big thank you for what you do every day.”

He added: “You are doing a very important job here and defending our freedoms is very important, and everyone at home is fully behind you.”

The base, made up of a coalition of British, Polish and American troops, is helping to support Ukraine.

The Prince of Wales is shown a Sky Saber system during a visit to the British armed forces in Rzeszow, Poland.
The Prince of Wales is shown a Sky Saber system during a visit to the British armed forces in Rzeszow, Poland (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

Major Richard Kaye, who met the prince, said: “We are here to protect critical national infrastructure in the region.

“We are absolutely privileged to receive His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and privileged that he has chosen to come and visit us.”

William also visited Polish soldiers at the 3rd Brigade Territorial Defense Force base in Rzeszow.

Upon his arrival, the prince was received by Poland’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, Mariusz Blaszczak.

Blaszczak expressed his appreciation for the cooperation between the British and Polish troops.

William was then shown a Polish self-propelled howitzer artillery system which had a British turret.

The Prince of Wales is greeted by Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Blaszczak, as he arrives to visit the 3rd Brigade Territorial Defense Force base in Rzeszow, Poland.
The Prince of Wales is greeted by Polish deputy prime minister and national defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak as he arrives to visit the 3rd Brigade Territorial Defense Force base in Rzeszow, Poland (Yui Mok/PA)

Major Przemyslaw Garema, 35, a professional soldier in the brigade, said: “It is very important equipment that Poland donated at the beginning of the war to Ukraine, so we delivered some batteries.

“We have been training Ukrainian soldiers to teach them how to use this.”

Later, William will travel to an accommodation center in Warsaw to meet Ukrainian refugees who fled and found refuge in the Polish capital.

Upon landing in Warsaw, the prince said: “It’s great to be back in Poland.

“Our nations have strong ties. Through our cooperation in support of the people of Ukraine and their freedom, which are also our freedoms and yours, these ties are further strengthened.

William and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak
William and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak (second left) meet soldiers in Rzeszow (Yui Mok/PA)

“I am here because I want to personally thank the Polish and British troops who are working in close and crucial partnership.

“I also want to pay tribute to the inspiring humanity of the Polish people. You have opened your hearts as well as your homes.

“That is why I visited Rzeszow this afternoon to meet the troops there to hear their stories and acknowledge their duty.

“I was impressed by their passion and their shared determination to defend our shared freedoms.”

The accommodation center houses some 300 women and children who have recently arrived in the country, provides residents with two meals a day and offers Polish classes, employment support, a children’s play area, psychological support and kickboxing classes.

William will hear from the residents about their experiences before meeting with the volunteers.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the British Armed Forces in Rzeszow, Poland
The Prince of Wales during a visit to the British armed forces in Rzeszow, Poland (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

He spoke of wanting to “underline” his continued support and gratitude to the Polish people.

On Thursday, the prince will meet Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Palace and visit a local food hall to speak with Ukrainian refugees.

He will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument dedicated to Polish soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict.

The late Queen Elizabeth II and the late Duke of Edinburgh laid a wreath during their state visit to Poland in 1996.

It is William’s first trip to Poland since he visited in 2017 with his wife, the Princess of Wales.

Source

Leave a Reply