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Prince William mocked by Russia during his visit to troops in Poland

Prince William was mocked by a Russian official on Thursday as he was undertaking the second day of a previously unannounced visit to Poland to thank British and Polish troops involved in the war in Ukraine.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry took a public swipe at the Prince of Wales as the UK government defended plans to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, a move President Vladimir Putin said would force a reaction from Russia.

“I wonder if William Charlesovich has brought depleted uranium ammunition for his troops,” Zakharova said of the prince’s trip to Poland, per The Daily Telegraph.

Depleted uranium ammunition has been a focus of tensions between the West and Russia in recent days with the Kremlin accusing the West of using weapons with a “nuclear component.”

In a joint press conference held with China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, Putin said he had heard of plans to send the weapons to Ukraine and noted: “If all this happens, Russia will have to respond accordingly, given that the West collectively is already beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component.”

On Wednesday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that it would provide armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds alongside Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine—though it insisted that the use of uranium is “a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons.”

“The British Army has used depleted uranium in its armor-piercing shells for decades,” a statement from the MoD added, per the BBC.

“Russia knows this but is deliberately trying to disinform. Independent research by scientists from groups such as the Royal Society has assessed that any impact on personal health and the environment from the use of depleted uranium munitions is likely to be low.”

William’s visit to Poland has involved a number of military engagements including visits to troops to learn about the combined British and Polish military support being offered to Ukraine. He thanked servicemen and women for “defending our freedoms,” followed by a meeting with Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda.

After his meeting with the president, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said, per The Times of Londonthat their conversation was “warm and friendly, and predominately focused on the ongoing conflict with the war in Ukraine, particularly its impact on Polish society.”

“The Prince of Wales took the opportunity to thank the president and the Polish people who have done so much to support the people of Ukraine who’ve fled here. They discussed the importance of the need for ongoing support to Ukraine and its people,” they added, before going on to confirm that the president and first lady had been invited to attend the coronation of his father, King Charles III, on May 6.

“The prince said that he was very much looking forward to seeing the president and first lady at the coronation,” the spokesperson said. “He also thanked him for attending the late Queen’s funeral.”

During his visit, William spent time with Ukrainian refugees who have settled in Poland and the volunteers supporting them, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an act of dedication that the royal’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, paid in 1996.

“It’s no surprise that Prince William has paid a highly successful visit to Poland to thank British and Polish troops and to see how Poland is caring for Ukrainian refugees whilst the brutal war still rages after the illegal Russian invasion,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Newsweek.

“It will clearly be interpreted as a show of support for Ukraine in line with King Charles’ known views.”

Newsweek has approached Kensington Palace and the Russian foreign ministry via email for comment.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We’d love to hear from you.

Prince William was mocked by a Russian official on Thursday as he was undertaking the second day of a previously unannounced visit to Poland to thank British and Polish troops involved in the war in Ukraine.

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