Spilnota Detector Media

Fake A Ukrainian allegedly committed an attack with a knife in Krakow

There were reports on social networks about a knife attack in Krakow, as well as speculation that the attacker was allegedly Ukrainian. This information was quickly picked up by propagandists, but it is not true.

Polish fact-checkers from Demagog drew attention to it. They found out that on June 27, a recording was published on Facebook showing two men in a fight, one of whom was holding a knife.

The incident occurred when a cyclist hit a dog. After an argument with the animal's owner, the cyclist stabbed him several times and fled. The police quickly identified the criminal who had barricaded himself in his house. Thanks to the actions of negotiators and counter-terrorists, the attacker was detained while trying to escape through a window. The perpetrator turned out to be a 24-year-old resident of Krakow, previously known to the police.

To find out the nationality of the criminal, fact-checkers contacted the Voivodeship Police Commandant's Office in Krakow. Speaker-sub-inspector Katarzyna Czyslo denied the information that the attacker was Ukrainian:

“From the materials we have, it is clear that the perpetrator is of Polish nationality”.

They remind that in the case of sensational reports of attacks, special attention should be paid to the reliability of such information. Propagandists seize on such information to discredit Ukrainian refugees and create skepticism towards them.

Manipulation Polish doctors are allegedly being sent to Ukraine to participate in hostilities

Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels spread information that Polish doctors are allegedly being sent to Ukraine to front-line hospitals and to participate in hostilities. According to Russian propagandists, this will happen in the near future and, moreover, forcibly. As proof, the Russians provide screenshots of one of the Polish sites with the corresponding article.

However, this information does not correspond to reality, writes the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security Council. The article actually says that 15 Polish doctors will come to Ukraine precisely for educational purposes. The material does not mention their participation in hostilities at all.

By spreading such messages, Russian propaganda promotes the narrative of “foreign mercenaries” allegedly fighting against the Russians in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Earlier, we refuted information that a Ukrainian called on Poles to go fight against Russia.

Message There is supposedly no war in Ukraine because it continues to trade and participates in Eurovision

Polish-speaking Facebook users posted a picture about Ukraine. It says: “How can a country engulfed in “war”: export goods, participate in Eurovision, participate in sports competitions, trade with the whole world, have fun in Kyiv and other places where cowards hide? Something doesn’t add up here, and at the same time it requires help from all over the world. It’s a lie, do you agree?” Polish fact-checkers from the Demagog project drew attention to this case.

In response to the question “How can a country engulfed in “war”: export goods, [...] trade with the whole world?”, they cite research by Dr. Maria Greenberg of MIT. She argues that the relationship between trade and armed conflict is complex and ambiguous. War destroys trade ties between countries, but does not eliminate them completely. Ukraine exports metals, machinery, chemicals, but mainly agricultural products. The war led to a decrease in exports of these goods and an increase in their prices. Exports of goods and services to Ukraine fell significantly in 2022, according to the World Bank. However, in 2023, Ukraine achieved some stabilization, although exports decreased by about 20% due to lower prices on world markets, not due to lower sales volumes.

Regarding participation in sports and music competitions, there are many examples of countries that sent their teams to various tournaments during armed conflicts. For example, the Syrian team took part in the 2012 Olympics in London, where the civil war continued. In 2016, teams from Iraq and Libya competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In 2020 (which actually took place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Tokyo Olympics featured teams from Myanmar and Somalia.

Ukraine is also not the first country to participate in Eurovision during the war. For example, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - in the first half of the 90s during the wars in Yugoslavia. In 2022, the winner of the competition was the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra, but due to the war it was held in Liverpool (UK) in 2023.

Photos of Ukrainians walking the streets of Kyiv are not proof of the absence of war. For example, during World War II, people also continued to go about their business, as archival photographs show.

The war in Ukraine remains a real threat for many people. During the two years of war, more than 10,000 civilian deaths were confirmed as a result of Russian attacks, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The heaviest fighting is taking place in the east of the country, but attacks are also taking place in other regions.

Propagandists use this message to create skepticism among Poles about aid and support for Ukraine and its citizens.

Fake Poland allegedly confirmed the war in Ukraine by NATO forces against Russia

Russian media are disseminating information that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has confirmed the introduction of NATO into Ukraine. The official allegedly announced this during a conversation with the press in the Sejm (Polish parliament).

StopFake analysts write that during a conversation with the press, Mr. Tusk was asked whether NATO could help Ukraine resist Russian aggression by sending troops into the country? In response, the Prime Minister explained that the Alliance already provides Ukraine with comprehensive military assistance, but does not want to intervene directly in the war and therefore does not send its troops to Ukraine.

At the same time, the Polish prime minister also noted that there is a small technical contingent in Ukraine - these are observers and engineering specialists who remain far from the front line and do not participate in battles. Most often, such specialists oversee the distribution of military aid to allies, guard the embassies of member states, or represent the apparatus of military attaches.

Fake Euronews allegedly reported on a Ukrainian female scammer in Poland who opened a beauty salon with mosquitoes sucking fat

Propagandists are distributing a video on social networks with the symbols of the European news channel Euronews, which states that a refugee from Ukraine allegedly created a beauty salon in Poland with mosquitoes, the bite of which was supposed to relieve clients of cellulite. The video reports that after one of the patients was admitted to a Gdansk hospital with allergies, Polish police allegedly detained Kateryna Ivanchenko, the woman who, according to propagandists, organized this business, for fraud. “The Ukrainian woman earned 1 million zlotys from ordinary mosquitoes, which were believed to suck out fat”, the publications note. In fact, this information is not true.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to this. They found that the video distributed online imitates the design of Euronews videos - in particular, the company logo can be seen in the upper right corner of the video. However, there is no such story either on the official website or on the media company’s social networks. The fact that this story is completely fictitious is indicated by the fact that none of the Polish media also reported such cases of fraud on the part of the Ukrainian woman.

To create a fake video, attackers used video clips from free stock videos. To illustrate the fictitious arrest of the owner of a beauty salon, a video clip of the arrest of a suspect in the arson of a shopping center in Gdansk was taken. This incident occurred in July 2020 and has nothing to do with the incident described in the fake video.

The purpose of this fake is to discredit refugees from Ukraine in the eyes of the Poles. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian fakes regarding Ukrainian refugees.

Fake Ukrainian refugees allegedly set fire to a pharmaceutical warehouse in Poland

On social networks and Russian public pages, propagandists are actively spreading messages that “a group of Ukrainian refugees, dissatisfied with the policies of the Polish authorities regarding the supply of Ukrainian goods and insufficient military assistance, staged an act of revenge and set fire to the pharmaceutical composition of Farmacol in Katowice on the evening of April 8”. Propagandists are also distributing two short videos from the scene, one of which shows a burning building with the inscription Farmacol. Social networks traditionally use hate speech and accusations against Ukrainian refugees. However, this is another fake of Russian propaganda.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that on the evening of April 8, 2024, in the Polish city of Katowice, a warehouse belonging to the pharmaceutical company Farmacol actually burned, but Ukrainian refugees had nothing to do with this incident. No Polish media or any other reliable source has information about the arson of the train specifically by Ukrainians.

Moreover, the Polish site Fakehunter also denied this fake and quoted the deputy head of the prosecutor's office of the Southern District of Katowice, Slawomir Barnas: “Previous conclusions made at the visual review stage exclude the possibility of arson in this place, not to mention the fact that the culprits were foreigners”. The prosecutor's office does not yet want to comment on the true cause of the fire, since it does not yet have an expert opinion, but it calls the version that Ukrainian citizens were involved in the incident unfounded.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists want to demonize Ukrainian refugees in Poland and cause a negative attitude towards them. Thus, they also want Poland to stop helping Ukraine and its people. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian lies about Ukrainian refugees.

Fake The inscription “Ukraine” instead of “Republic of Ukraine” on the international passport allegedly proves that Ukraine is not a state

Russian propagandists are spreading false information that Ukraine is not in fact a sovereign state, since its international passport has “Ukraine” printed on it instead of “Republic of Ukraine”, unlike the passports of European Union countries. However, this is not true.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to this fake. They found out that Ukraine is the full name of the state, and therefore “Ukraine” is marked on the cover of the Ukrainian passport. This practice is standard in many countries around the world, including members of the European Union. For example, a Czech passport says “Czech Republic”, and a Polish passport says “Republic of Poland”.

However, not all EU member states use the word “republic” in the name of their countries, as propagandists claim. This is because not all of them are republics. For example, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Sweden are kingdoms and therefore do not have the word “republic” on their passports. Also on the passports of other European republics, such as Hungary, Romania and Ireland, one can only see the name of the country without this word.

On passports of different countries one can see different approaches to indicating the full name of the state. Therefore, the claim that Ukraine is not a state due to the absence of the word “republic” on its passport is baseless.

Propagandists spread such fakes to justify Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine by the fact that Ukraine does not seem to be a real state.

Manipulation The general of the Polish army allegedly announced millions of losses in Ukraine

In an interview for the Polish news channel Polsat News, former Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army Raimund Andrzejczak, according to propagandists, expressed the opinion that Ukraine’s losses should be estimated in millions, not hundreds of thousands. However, this information is manipulated.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found that in his speech Andrzejczak mentioned the losses associated with the large flow of refugees and limited resources for mobilization. He spoke of a certain threat, pointing to the shortage of people in Ukraine and the problem with mobilization capacity, claiming “10 million refugees”.

However, Andrzejczak's estimates of losses are not precise. According to the Mykhailo Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Research, more than 9 million Ukrainians are abroad, only some of them are refugees, and the others are labor migrants or those who left the country earlier. According to various estimates, the number of Ukrainian refugees ranges from 4.9 to 6.5 million.

The Center for Economic Strategy study also cites different figures, pointing to fewer Ukrainians abroad due to the war. Estimates of the actual losses of the Ukrainian military also vary, but do not reach millions. Approximate numbers of dead and prisoners are contained in the materials of the “Book of Memory of those who fell for Ukraine”, which has been keeping records of losses as a result of the war since 2014.

Propagandists often take phrases of famous politicians and military personnel out of context in order to dramatize the situation and cause despondency among Ukrainians.

Fake An invention of propagandists about how the Poles allegedly export Kherson black soil to themselves

A video is being circulated online showing Poles transporting black soil from the Kherson region in trucks. It consists of three parts: the first part shows the earthworks; the second is how a forklift fills a truck with soil; the third is filming the road by a car driver. The video contains the caption: “How was my week. Kherson region”. According to the authors of numerous publications with him, the land is being taken to the Polish city of Myslowice. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found that this video first began to be distributed online by predominantly pro-Russian telegram channels and anonymous accounts back in early March 2023. They note that there is no indication in the video that the footage of the earth being loaded was actually filmed in Ukraine. A reverse image search also did not yield positive results due to the low quality of the recording. Only the last part of the video indicates that its author is probably Polish - Polish music and the Polish language can be heard in the background.

And yet, in the first part of the video, a truck is clearly visible, into which earth is being loaded, and in the second, the logo on the steering wheel of the car from which the road is being filmed is clearly visible. AFP Polska journalists, who also drew attention to this fake back in 2023, were able to identify these two vehicles: in the first part of the video a Shacman truck appears (Shacman F2000 or Shacman F3000), in the second - a Scania. This fact indicates that these two video fragments are not related to each other and were presumably combined into one video for the purpose of falsification.

The export of Ukrainian black soil is also unlikely because it is contrary to Polish and EU legislation. In accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 of 28 November 2019, the import of soil and fertilizers is prohibited. Consequently, trucks with land simply could not cross the border between Ukraine and Poland. In addition, the refutation from StopFake contains a professional commentary on the deterioration of the quality of Ukrainian black soil, which is why its transportation to other countries also seems unlikely.

Propagandists spread such fakes in order to deepen tension in bilateral relations between Poland and Ukraine against the backdrop of recent events, in particular, protests by Polish farmers against the import of Ukrainian products. Detector Media also wrote how Russia is trying to use and support these protests not only in Poland, but also in other EU countries.

Manipulation The Polish Foreign Minister allegedly called the US dysfunctional due to problems with providing assistance to Ukraine

As the US Congress considers military aid to Ukraine, European leaders are expressing concern about how the withdrawal of US financial support in the fight against Russian aggression could affect Ukraine. An Instagram post on February 25 claimed that Poland's foreign minister called the US a “dysfunctional and unreliable” state due to delays in the process. In particular, propagandists disseminated such messages on social networks like Instagram. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the Politifact project drew attention to it. They found that while Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsky did express concern about a possible end to U.S. military aid to Ukraine in an interview with Bloomberg News on February 22, he called for a democratic process in resolving the issue and urged the Speaker of the House of Representatives to put forward a bill on the aid package to Ukraine to vote.

In his interview, Sikorsky highlighted the potential consequences if the United States does not provide expected assistance to its allies, warning of negative developments for American alliances around the world.

There is no evidence to support that Poland's foreign minister called the US “dysfunctional and unreliable” in his interview with Bloomberg News or elsewhere. Therefore, we evaluate this statement as erroneous.

Russian propagandists take such statements out of context in order to antagonize Western states and cause skepticism about helping Ukraine. Detector Media has already written about how Russian propaganda is trying to influence the policies of the United States and for what purposes.

Message Ukrainian grain is allegedly poisoned and Polish birds are dying because of it

Russian propagandists are disseminating information in anonymous telegram channels that a mass death of birds was allegedly recorded in Poland after they allegedly ate Ukrainian grain that spilled from freight cars. “The Poles are afraid that they are next, because they are bringing poisoned grain from Ukraine”, they write in their public posts. Some propagandists also say that we are talking about grain that was allegedly grown in the radiative zone around Chornobyl, and that it is now being sold to Europe.

However, there is no factual evidence that somewhere in Poland a mass death of birds was recorded specifically through Ukrainian grain. Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to this. They found that the first video being circulated by propagandists as evidence of these claims showed several dead birds, mostly crows, lying next to railway tracks in the Polish city of Zamość. No research has been conducted into the causes of death of these birds. There is no information about what happened even in the local media. There was only a message about this on social networks, where this video was published. Polish fact-checkers from the Demagog project also drew attention to the spread of fake news among Poles and took a comment from an ornithologist who confirmed that without toxicological and veterinary studies it is impossible to say that the birds died due to poisoned grain.

Local bloggers also commented on the situation, noting that there are no freight trains running in the place where the video was filmed. In addition, the birds in the video lie in amazing poses, some with broken wings. It is also surprising that in the video there are only crows, and not pigeons, sparrows or other “urban” birds.

Regarding the quality of Ukrainian grain exported to Europe, it is very carefully checked by buyers. They not only control the quality indicators of the grain, but also make sure that the products have the necessary international certification.

“Each batch is accompanied by an analysis by an independent surveyor nominated by GAFTA”, said Serhii Orlovskyi, founder of the Agrooiltrade trading company, in an interview with Latifundist.com. According to him, any discrepancy in quality could become the basis for lawsuits.

This fake is spreading against the backdrop of protests by Polish farmers against European agricultural policy and the blockade of checkpoints from Ukraine, as well as blockades of roads and highways in some provinces demanding a ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine. The protests are accompanied by disinformation campaigns and inciting hostility between allies, which obviously benefits the Kremlin. Detector Media has already written about how Russia is fueling and exploiting farmer protests across Europe.

Manipulation Ukrainians are allegedly fleeing Zelenskyi en masse to Poland

Russian telegram channels, with reference to Polish border guards, disseminate information that during February 5, 2024, 16,400 people left Ukraine for Poland. The reason for this is the alleged flight of Ukrainians from Zelenskyi.

In fact, Russian propagandists manipulate information. This is written about in the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security. So, on February 5, 2024, 16,400 people actually left Ukraine for Poland, but on the same day 17,600 people returned from Poland to Ukraine. In addition, this does not mean that none of those who left will return back. These days, when the skies over Ukraine are closed to civil aircraft, one of the few options to get to any other country is to go through Poland. Ukrainians can visit their relatives abroad, travel or go on their own business, and then return back.

In this case, the Russians resort to one of the propaganda tactics called “selective truth”. Its essence is that a statement may be partially true, may be completely true but not include the whole truth, or may contain several deceptive elements. That is, in the message about the “flight of Ukrainians from Zelenskyi”, the Russians deliberately kept silent about the 17,600 people who returned from Poland to Ukraine on February 5, 2024, thereby providing one-sided information.

• Read also: Ukrainian refugees are caught on the Polish-German border to send them to the front.

Manipulation In Ukraine, children are allegedly forced to learn Polish as preparation for the Polish occupation

Russian telegram channels disseminated information about the study of Polish as a second foreign language in schools in the Poltava region. Propagandists explain this by saying that the Ukrainian authorities are allegedly preparing citizens to surrender their territories to Poland. However, this is manipulation.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that in one of the classes at Lyceum No. 17 “Intelligence” in Poltava, they actually study Polish as a second foreign language (the first is English). But the decision to learn Polish was made not by the authorities, but by the parents of the students. This decision was made at the level of the parent committee and taken at the regional level for study in two schools in the Poltava region, as confirmed by information from the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council.

The Ministry of Education and Science has developed a program for studying the Polish language for students in grades 5-9 and 10-11, but it is not mandatory for teaching. The director of Lyceum No. 17, Olena Holtvianytsia, emphasizes that the Ministry does not limit the school in the choice of foreign languages to study. The introduction of the Polish language in the lyceum is justified by the fact that many children have experience in Poland, so it becomes a more convenient option for them than other foreign languages. It also gives children more opportunities to practice.

This innovation is due to the joint initiative of parents and schools, and it is completely unrelated to any plans for the return of territories to Poland. In addition, it should be noted that the Polish authorities have already expressed respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine several times. Detector Media has already written about why propagandists are trying to create fake news that Poland will supposedly soon seize Ukraine.

Fake The Ukrainian allegedly called on the Poles to go to war against Russia

Krzysztof Sokołowski recorded a video message to the Poles and called on them to go to war in Ukraine and kill Russians. At the end of his speech, he exclaimed: “Hit Moscow, hit it to the last bullet, go ahead to Moscow, for Ukraine our homeland! Death to enemies! Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!”. This video was picked up by a Polish pro-Russian politician and distributed on his pages on social networks with the caption: “In one minute, the Ukrainian is warming us up to war with Russia”.

Krzysztof Sokołowski is a Pole, he was born in Warsaw and graduated from the University of Warsaw. Ukrinform journalists write about this. The man began learning Ukrainian in 2022, as evidenced by a message on his Facebook page. Previously, Sokołowski was a lawyer, but lost his license due to numerous frauds. Now he has become a tool in the hands of pro-Russian Polish politicians.

With this fake, Russian propaganda seeks to worsen relations between Ukraine and Poland and to quarrel between the two countries. They say that the Ukrainians are also trying to involve their Polish neighbors in the war. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, has repeatedly noted that Ukraine does not need NATO military, but only weapons and money. Previously, Detector Media denied information that Poland would now issue draft notices to Ukrainians.

Fake Ukrainian refugees are being caught on the Polish-German border to send them to the front

Russian propaganda resources are disseminating information that there are checkpoints on the Polish-German border where Ukrainian refugees are allegedly detained in order to deport them. It's fake.

This misinformation was processed by the fact-checkers from the StopFake project. They found out that the mentioned checkpoints do exist, but they are not related to Ukraine. The checkpoints are set up for security reasons and are related to the influx of illegal migrants and the activities of smugglers who smuggle people across the border illegally. According to the head of the press and information department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Illarion Pavliuk, the Ministry is not developing any measures to put pressure on Ukrainians liable for military service who have traveled abroad.

After the promulgation of the Bill of December 25, 2023 to improve certain issues of mobilization, military registration and military service, Russian propaganda speculates noticeably more on the topic of mobilization. The bill in the first reading contains, in particular, an invitation to Ukrainians abroad to clarify their credentials. However, this is not a hunt for people, and no forced mobilization outside of Ukraine is planned.

Fake In Poland, they will now hand out draft notices to Ukrainians

Pro-Russian resources write that Territorial Center for Recruitment and Social Support employees began handing out draft notices to Ukrainian men in Warsaw. As proof, propagandists are distributing a video in which a man in military uniform allegedly issues a draft notice to a Ukrainian in the Polish capital.

In fact, the video is staged - it was shot by a Ukrainian military man who is undergoing rehabilitation in Warsaw after being seriously wounded in the war. The purpose of this production, according to the military man, is “to fray the nerves of evaders” who left Ukraine illegally. He spoke about this in a new video distributed by the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security.

Russian propaganda systematically speculates on the topic of mobilization in Ukraine, in particular, spreading disinformation. Propagandists fuel their narrative with this fake, saying that the Ukrainian authorities are pursuing a policy of “grabbing” ordinary Ukrainians. Moreover, from now on they will supposedly “catch” Ukrainians abroad. Previously, we worked on the Russian message, according to which paying assistance to Ukrainian male refugees seems to be much more expensive than transferring them to the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Message Ukrainian refugees have turned Poland into the “criminal capital” of the EU

This thesis was spread on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that under the “influence of Ukrainian gangs” money laundering, trafficking in children, drugs, weapons, etc. are flourishing in Poland. The publications refer to materials from Polish media.

The VoxCheck analysts worked on the case and explained that the material was published in a Polish-language media system that systematically disseminates Kremlin propaganda. Consequently, any theses do not claim to provide objective information.

One of the materials that really reveals the topic of crimes committed by foreigners in Poland is the material in the publication Rzeczpospolita, which analyzes what crimes migrants have committed in Poland in 2022. The National Police Headquarters prepared statistics specifically for the publication on crimes committed by foreigners in Poland. Thus, in total in 2022, 15 thousand crimes were committed by representatives of different nationalities; Ukrainians, as the largest group, as well as Belarusians and Georgians, were most often included in the statistics. Analysts add: there are about 1.5 million people with Ukrainian citizenship in Poland. That is, according to relative indicators, the number of Ukrainian offenders is 0.15% of all Ukrainians in Poland. The most common type of crime among foreigners, notes Rzeczpospolita, is driving while intoxicated. The second most popular crime is drug possession.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to present Ukrainian refugees as criminals or terrorists, as a cultural and economic threat to the EU - in order to reduce support for Ukraine. We mentioned this in our own investigation.

Detector Media analysts have refuted a number of fakes and manipulations on the topic of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. For example, we analyzed a manipulation to increase thefts in Polish stores by a third, allegedly due to Ukrainian refugees. But they also explained another manipulation, according to which propagandists claimed that the attitude of many Poles towards Ukrainians had worsened.

Message The supply of weapons to Ukraine is allegedly a state betrayal of Poland

Pro-Kremlin resources write that the transfer of Polish weapons to Ukraine falls under the definition of treason, since the supposed consequence of such a policy is that Poland remains disarmed. In asserting this, Russian media refer to a report by Przemysław Piasta in the newspaper Myśl Polska.

Journalists of the No Lies project examined this information. As it turns out, the online publication Myśl Polska often publishes Kremlin propaganda, so Przemysław Piasta’s text fits completely into the pro-Russian policy of this media. In reality, Poland is transferring to Ukraine the equipment it replaced with new ones, and is also fulfilling old contracts. That is, the country is actively strengthening its own army and helping Ukrainians.

Russian propaganda is once again trying to weaken military support for Ukraine by Western countries. In addition, by promoting such a message, propagandists seek to cultivate the negative attitude of Poles towards Ukraine and their leadership. Previously, we analyzed the propaganda message that Kyiv is allegedly “preparing a military provocation against Poland” in the event of a critical decline in support from Western countries.

Fake A monument to Ukrainian refugees in the form of a gnome was allegedly erected in Wroclaw

Pro-Kremlin telegram channels are disseminating information that in Poland, in Wroclaw, which is famous for its street gnomes, their collection has been replenished with a new sculpture - a male refugee with a Ukrainian passport and a suitcase. However, this is fake.

The specialists from the BezBrekhni (No Lies) project investigated this case. They found out that there are no official publications on the establishment of such a figurine in Wroclaw. However, in March 2023, gnomes connected with Ukraine were actually installed there - this is a refugee with a child in her arms and a suitcase, as well as a volunteer. Thus, the Poles expressed gratitude to those who help Ukrainian refugees after February 24, 2022.

Propagandists are trying to create the impression that Ukrainians are not welcome abroad and that no one needs them. That is why the Russians resorted to a fake with such a “shameful monument” in Wroclaw. Previously, we denied information that Poland had canceled payments for Ukrainian refugees from January 1, 2024.

Fake Ukrainians allegedly receive calls from Poland and ask whether they will come to a referendum on “reunification” with their neighboring country

This information is disseminated by pro-Russian resources. They say that a referendum on this matter will take place on January 15, 2024 in Lviv and the region. According to the video that propagandists add, the survey was conducted by CBOS, the Polish Center for Public Opinion Research. Considering the comments, some residents of the Lviv region are allegedly even happy about the opportunity to live in Poland. It's fake.

The experts from the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council examined this information. They found out that the CBOS website does not contain any materials about such a sociological survey. The latest study on Ukraine is dated November 27, 2023, and its topic is the war in Ukraine, and not the so-called referendum. In the end, no referendum on the annexation of the Lviv region to Poland can be held, since this is contrary to the legislation of Ukraine and poses a threat to the territorial integrity of the state and its security.

With the help of such disinformation materials, the Russians are trying to fuel their narrative that Poland is allegedly planning to occupy the Ukrainian event. One can also trace the attempts of propagandists to create an image of an enemy for Ukrainians from Poland. Previously, we refuted the information that during the 1.5 year war against Russia in Ukraine, more than 10,000 Poles allegedly died.

Disclosure Ukraine is allegedly preparing to surrender the central and western regions of the country to Poland

Pro-Russian resources are disseminating information that the Ukrainian authorities seem to have begun to prepare for the surrender of the central and western regions of Ukraine to Poland. This is evidenced by the fact that children began to be taught Polish in schools in the Poltava region. However, this is a fake.

This case was studied by specialists at the Center for Countering Disinformation. They managed to find out that the Polish language in the Poltava region is taught in only two schools, and not in all, as propagandists claim. This was reported by the Poltava City Council. Moreover, at the beginning of the school year, in addition to compulsory English, children in the region were offered to study Polish or German as a second foreign language, which indicates free choice and not coercion.

By claiming that Ukraine is ready to surrender its territories to Poland, Russian propaganda  is trying to demoralize Ukrainian society and assure everyone around that the defeat of the Ukrainian side in the war against Russia is inevitable. Propagandists also aim to create an image of Poland as an enemy among Ukrainians by spreading disinformation, as in this case. As part of the narrative that Poland will supposedly “absorb” Ukraine, we wrote about a conspiracy theory called “Ukrpolin”.

Message Kyiv is “preparing a military provocation against Poland” in case of a critical decline in support from Western countries

This thesis is promoted by the chairman of the occupation administration of the Kherson region, collaborator Volodymyr Saldo. In addition, according to him, the strike could be carried out “in the near future” by either Western or Ukrainian missiles with Russian markings on the parts.

The Center for Countering Disinformation has reviewed this information. Russian war criminals and their henchmen constantly accuse the criminal “Kyiv regime” of provocations both on the territory of Ukraine and abroad. Taking advantage of the situation that has developed on the Ukrainian-Polish border with the Poles blocking trucks, propagandists are trying to further complicate the political relations between Ukraine and Poland. Another goal of promoting the mentioned message is to reduce Western support for Ukraine.

Fake Poland allegedly canceled payments for Ukrainian refugees from January 1, 2024

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric on anonymous telegram channels and other social networks are spreading fake information that Poland is allegedly canceling payments to Ukrainian refugees from January 1, 2024. They say that Poland was Ukraine’s lawyer in the European Union, but Zelenskyi quickly managed to turn a friend into an enemy. As proof of this decision, users add a screenshot of the news from November 17, 2023, allegedly from the official website of the Polish government.

After disseminating such information, StopFake decided to check whether the Polish government really made a similar decision and reported it on the official website. As it turned out, the information disseminated is not true.

Project specialists went to the corresponding website of the Polish government, from which they allegedly took a screenshot distributed by propagandists. There is a separate page for citizens of Ukraine, containing official information for refugees in Ukrainian. Among the news published there, there is no information that the Polish government has decided to cancel social payments for refugees from January 1. The remaining publications are still relevant, in which you can familiarize yourself with all existing assistance programs. While researching this site, they also found the same picture with which Russian propaganda created a fake screenshot. The news “Living and working in Poland – 2022” uses the same image as in the false reports spread by propagandists. In addition, in the edited “announcement”, Russian propaganda made a mistake: the word “terminates” in Ukrainian should have been written in another way. This error indicates that the information may be incorrect.

The StopFake analysts note that the Polish government has indeed publicly announced a possible reduction in assistance to Ukrainian refugees. In October 2023, a representative of the Polish government, Piotr Müller, in an interview with the PAP agency, said that the decisions determined by the law on assistance to Ukrainians would probably lose force in the first quarter of next year and expressed the hope that “there is simply no need to continue them”. However, as of now, the Polish government has not announced that from January 1 all payments to Ukrainian refugees will be stopped.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists want to quarrel between Poles and Ukrainians, as well as to arouse mistrust of Ukrainians not only in the Polish government, but also in the Ukrainian one. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other fakes involving Poland. The large number of Russian propaganda fictions about this country is due, among other things, to the high level of support for Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Manipulation The Poles do not want to see Ukrainian refugees and therefore protest on the streets of Lublin

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric in the media claim that the Poles allegedly no longer want to see Ukrainians in their country and therefore began to massively support anti-Ukrainian parties. Like, CNN even writes about this, talking about large-scale demonstrations in Polish cities such as Lublin. However, this is manipulation.

This case was brought to the attention of specialists from the StopFake project and the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security. They analyzed the publication’s original article, which is called “Poland’s goodwill towards Ukraine is weakening. The far right party is seizing the opportunity”. In fact, it only covers one of the pre-election rallies of the anti-Ukrainian and Eurosceptic Confederation party in Lublin. This explains the rhetoric against Ukrainian refugees among the event participants. At the same time, CNN journalists' interlocutors are confident in Ukraine's victory and the need to continue to support it despite all problems. There are indeed no statements in the article that the Poles “no longer want to see Ukrainians in their country”.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists want to create a quarrel between Ukrainians and Poles, as well as influence their internal politics, causing a hostile attitude towards Ukrainian refugees. Detector Media has already written about how Russian propaganda manipulated the topics of internal Polish politics before and after the recent parliamentary elections.

Manipulation Poles “no longer want to see” Ukrainian refugees in their country

This thesis was spread in pro-Kremlin media. Reports say that Poles are increasingly hostile towards Ukrainians, whom they do not want to see on Polish territory. The authors argue that anti-Ukrainian sentiment in Poland has increased and even political parties with such rhetoric are becoming increasingly popular among citizens. To support this position, publications refer to CNN material. This is manipulation.

The StopFake analysts investigated this case and determined that the journalistic material covered the events of the election campaign in Poland, namely the rally of the Confederation party in Lublin on the eve of the elections. It is a far-right political force that proclaims nationalist views, anti-migrant sentiments and radical Euroscepticism. Accordingly, the events and characters covered in the CNN report naturally express their attitude to a particular issue. These are sympathizers of the ultra-right party.

For example, a fifteen-year-old boy told media workers from an American television and radio company that he was helping organize the event because he was against LGBT people, against the European Union and against abortion. Or another hero of a mass event argued that “some Ukrainians feel too much at home”. It is not surprising that supporters of a party that expresses right-wing rhetoric relay it. That is, this is what CNN journalists showed. However, they did not incline or create their own judgments that the Poles “do not want to see” Ukrainian refugees. Media people clearly indicated whose rhetoric this was and whether it generally coincided with the position of the state. At the same time, propagandists did not provide complete information and background of the event. Using the rally of the far-right party, the manipulators legitimized their theses and extended their conclusions to the entire Polish population.

As for the thesis about the ubiquitous popularity of parties with anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, it is untrue. The same “Confederation” received the lowest result among parliamentary elections - 18 seats in the Seimas and 7.16% of the votes.

The Polish Center for Public Opinion Research recently conducted a study of support for Ukrainians. Thus, 65% of Poles are in favor of accepting Ukrainian refugees in Poland. In addition, 64% believe that Russian aggression poses a direct threat to the security of Poland. Consequently, the thesis about the lack of support for Ukrainian refugees among Poles is also untrue.

Russian propaganda is once again trying to show a “decline in support for Ukrainians” in EU countries and others that have accepted Ukrainian refugees. In particular, they often turn to the Poles, one of Ukraine’s closest neighbors and strategic partners. Thus, the authors want to sow discord among Ukrainians and Poles.

Read our latest cases on this topic: allegedly, in Poland they accuse Ukrainians of “manifestations of Nazism”; or an anti-Ukrainian flash mob allegedly took place, initiated by the Poles.