Poland’s national team flying to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup were escorted by F-16 fighter jets yesterday, after Tuesday night’s fatal missile strike.
Two Polish citizens were killed in the strike in the country’s east, four miles from the Ukrainian border, as Ukraine continues to defend itself from Russia’s invasion.
Authorities are still trying to ascertain exactly where the missile came from, with early indications pointing to a Ukrainian air defence system seeking to counter the Russian bombardment – an assertion Ukraine has denied.
In a sign that Poland is taking no risks following the deadly strike, footage released by the country on Thursday showed a passenger jet carrying its football national team being escorted by a pair of F-16 fighter jets.
‘We were escorted to the southern border of Poland by F16 planes!’ the Twitter account for the national team posted yesterday.
‘Thank you and greetings to the pilots!’
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Poland’s national team flying to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup were escorted by F-16 fighter jets on Thursday, after Tuesday night’s missile strike. Pictured: The Polish national team’s passenger plane is shown next to a F-16 fighter jet
Photos were shared taken from the three different aircraft.
The fighter jets were seen flying almost wing-to-wing along-side the passenger jet, decorated in Poland’s national colours of red and white.
‘Republic of Poland’ was written down the side of the passenger plane. Its tail wing was adorned with images of historic figures of Poland, with the dates 1918 – 2018.
In Polish, a message read: ‘100th anniversary of regaining independence of Poland’.
Video also showed the national team posing for a farewell photograph with staff before boarding the plane. Footage, shot through a window of the passenger jet, showed the two fighter jets flying along-side.
Superstar captain Robert Lewandowski and his teammates are hoping to guide Poland out of Group C for their first knock-out round appearance since 1986.
Poland qualified for the World Cup from the same group as England, finishing six points behind them in second place.
In a sign that Poland is taking no risks following the deadly strike, footage released by the country on Thursday showed a passenger jet carrying the national team being escorted by a pair of F-16 fighter jets (pictured)
Pictured: Poland’s national team and staff are seen posing for a photograph by the plane
They then recieved a bye in their play-off semi final due to Russia being disqualified from participating in the tournament on account of its invasion of Ukraine.
Poland went on to triumph in their play-off final at home against Sweden, which saw them beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. 2-0.
The World Cup kicks off on Sunday with a tie between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. For Poland, their first clash comes against Mexico on Tuesday.
Czeslaw Michniewicz’s then take on Saudi Arabia on Saturday (Nov. 26), before coming up against tournament favourites Argentina on Wednesday, November 30.
Footage, shot through a window of the passenger jet, showed the fighter jets flying along-side
Video also showed the national team posing for a farewell photograph with staff before boarding the plane
Russia on Tuesday unleashed a nationwide barrage of more than 100 missiles and drones that knocked out power to 10 million people in Ukraine – strikes described by Ukraine’s energy minister as the biggest assault yet on the country’s battered power grid in nearly nine months of war.
The attack resulted in the missile landing in Poland, killing two people.
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday visited the site where the missile landed and expressed understanding for Ukraine’s plight. ‘It is a hugely difficult situation for them and there are great emotions, there is also great stress,’ Duda said.
On Wednesday, he called the strike an ‘unfortunate accident’.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels: ‘This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.’
Stoltenberg also said it was likely to have been a Ukrainian air defence missile.
An aerial view of the grain processing warehouse in eastern Poland that was hit by a missile. Warsaw says the weapons was ‘very probably’ fired by Ukraine, but Zelensky has disputed that account
The conflict also reverberated in European courts this week as a Dutch judge on Thursday sentenced two Russians and a Ukrainian to life in prison over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board
Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden had said the trajectories suggested the missile was unlikely to have been unleashed from Russia. Russia denied responsibility.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also appeared to roll back Kyiv’s position that it was a Russian missile that struck Poland following a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
‘Our experts are already in Poland,’ Kuleba tweeted. ‘We expect them to swiftly get access to the site in cooperation with Polish law enforcement.’
The conflict also reverberated in European courts this week as a Dutch judge on Thursday sentenced two Russians and a Ukrainian to life in prison over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.
None of the suspects from that earlier stage of hostilities were present in court or likely to serve their sentences, prompting Zelensky to hail the ‘important’ ruling but call for those responsible to be held to account.
The Kremlin dismissed the ruling as politically motivated while Australia accused Moscow of ‘harbouring murderers’.
Poland missile victims revealed: First pictures emerge of driver and warehouse worker
These are the faces of two Polish farm workers killed when a stray Ukrainian missile crashed down on top of them yesterday, sparking a major diplomatic incident.
Bogusław Wos, 62, the foreman of a grain warehouse, and Bogdan Ciupek, 60, a tractor driver, were killed around 3.40pm Tuesday when an S-300 rocket hit the town of Przewodow in eastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine.
Warehouse supervisor Bogusław Wos, 62 (left), and tractor driver Bogdan Ciupek, 60 (right), have been named as the two men killed in a missile strike on Poland yesterday afternoon
Horrified residents reported hearing ‘strange whistles’ as the missile flew overhead and then ‘a massive explosion, about a thousand decibels’ as it slammed down.
Neighbours say Boguslaw had worked in the grain silo warehouse for 40 years and lived with his wife and elderly mother-in-law, who they both looked after.
The Przewodow native is reported to have two grown up children who now live in the southern Polish city of Krakow.
Bogdan, who worked as a driver at the grain drying plant, lived in the nearby village of Setniki.