Prince William made a surprise visit to Poland on Wednesday that underscored Britain’s support for a nation on the front line of efforts to help refugees displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine and to assist the Ukrainian military in fighting off the invasion.
Prince William met with British and Polish troops in Rzeszow, a city of 200,000 people in southeastern Poland that has become a hub for shipments of military and humanitarian aid bound for Ukraine.
“I just wanted to come here in person to say thank you for all that you’re doing, keeping everyone safe out here and keeping an eye on what’s going on,″ William said as he spoke to the troops.
“You’re doing a really important job out here and defending our freedoms is really important, and everyone back home thoroughly supports you,” he said.
Located just 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Ukrainian border, Rzeszow is also a key transit point for refugees.
William visited Warsaw
William later landed in Warsaw. Where he visited a center that houses about 300 recent arrivals from Ukraine. Meeting Ukrainians and playing table tennis with children.
He praised the strong ties between the people of the U.K. and Poland, and the cooperation undertaken in support of Ukraine.
“I also want to pay tribute to the inspiring humanity of the Polish people,″ the prince said. “You have opened your hearts as much as your homes.″
The U.K. has been one of the most outspoken supporters of bolstering NATO’s eastern flank in the face of Russia’s aggression. The country sent troops to Poland and the Baltic states and provided more than 2.3 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) of military aid to Ukraine. It also has pledged 220 million pounds ($269 million) of humanitarian assistance.
“Our nations have strong ties,″ William says. ”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.″