On June 11th, former MP Demur Giorkhelidze published a Facebook post, stating that Poland is planning to send troops to Ukraine at Zelenskyy’s request and wants to divide Ukraine similar to when Poland itself had been divided three times.
Giorkhelidze disseminates the claim based on the statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
At a briefing on June 10th, Lavrov reported that Poland had begun to actively occupy the territories of Ukraine. Lavrov’s statement was also covered by the Russian media. (Ria.ru, Gazeta.ru, radiosputnik.lenta.ru, iz.ru, rusevik.ru).
The articles of lenta.ru, iz.ru, and rusevik.ru also mention a statement made by Russian Duma MP Dmitry Belik on June 9th, in which he said that Poland was trying to satisfy imperial intentions by interfering in the affairs of Ukraine.
Dmitry Belik: Poland is not a random player in the current events. It has territorial claims. Against the background of the situation with Ukraine, this country is trying to satisfy its imperial ambitions, which still haunt him while remembering the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.”
In addition, according to the claims disseminated on social media (1,2, 3), the new law initiated in Ukraine will grant Poles a special status, even allowing them to vote.
The claim that Poland plans the annexation of Ukraine is false. Official Poland has never expressed claims over the territories of Ukraine. The statements of the high-ranking Russian officials are assessed by the spokesperson of the special services of Poland as disinformation. In addition, Zelensky’s press service said that the law passed for Poles would be similar to the law passed for Ukrainian refugees in Poland, according to which Ukrainians would have similar rights to Polish citizens, with the exception of the right to vote.
The claim that Poland plans the annexation of Ukraine is disinformation
Russian officials and other Kremlin actors have been actively disseminating the information as if Poland wants to invade Ukraine and seize western Ukraine.
In fact, these statements are groundless, as Poland has never expressed claims over the Ukrainian territories. In addition, the statements of Lavrov and Belik were responded by the spokesman of the Polish special services Stanisław Żaryn. On May 13th, on his Twitter account, Żaryn called the claims Russian disinformation.
Stanisław Żaryn: “Sergey Lavrov continues disinformation efforts against Poland. In his latest statement, he deceitfully claims that Poland is actively capturing Ukrainian territory and obstructing Russia-Ukraine peace talks.”
Żaryn also notes that the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign serves Putin’s goal of creating tensions among Ukraine and Poland.
A report published on the official website of the Polish government on May 6th states that Russian propaganda was conducting a multifaceted campaign against Poland in order to establish the opinion that Poland had aggressive plans towards Ukraine. Similar reports have been published by the Polish government several times since February 24th.
Zelenskyy’s legislative initiative on granting Poles a special status in Ukraine does not entail the right to vote
During a visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to the Rada of Ukraine on May 22nd, Zelenskyy announced a new bill that would give Poles a special status in Ukraine. On the same day, Sergey Nikiforov, spokesman for Zelenskyy told the agency ‘Unian’ that the bill is currently being drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be similar to the law adopted in Poland – on the protection of Ukrainian citizens.
“We must pay attention to the law adopted regarding temporary refugees from Ukraine in Poland, which in fact equates Ukrainian citizens to Polish citizens with the exception to vote. That is why a similar law will be adopted in Ukraine,” – Nikiforov told the ‘Unian.’
The bill for the Ukrainian Refugees in Poland
On March 26th, the president of Poland adopted a special bill for Ukrainian refugees that have entered the territory of Poland since February 24th as a result of Russian aggression. According to the new regulation, Ukrainian citizens have the right to remain and work in Poland for 18 months. The regulation allows the Ukrainian refugees to enter the labour market and equates them with Polish citizens in terms of basic rights. The second important aspect of the bill grants Ukrainian children access to the education system. Not to mention, Ukrainian have the right to benefit from the same national healthcare benefits like the Polish citizens.
Memorandum between Poland and Ukraine
In order to enhance neighbourly relations between Poland and Ukraine, intergovernmental consultations between Poland and Ukraine were held in Kyiv on June 1st. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal. Following the consultation, eight different memoranda were signed.
According to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, among the points signed, the most important are the provisions that Poland supports Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO and will try to work for the granting of EU candidate status to Ukraine in June. At the meeting, the Ukrainian side also received support for the reconstruction of cities destroyed by Russian aggression.
Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki posted on Twitter a list of issues on which an agreement was reached:
- Further defence activities,
- Economic cooperation,
- Support for Polish companies in the reconstruction of Ukraine,
- Energy, food and transport security;
- National memory.
The claim that Poland plans the annexation of Ukraine has been disseminated in the past as well. For more, see the articles prepared by the “Myth Detector:”
- Who Wants to Divide Ukraine – Poland or Zhirinovsky?
- NATO Peacekeeping Mission or Annexing Western Ukraine? Disinformation about Poland’s Plans on Ukraine
- Is Poland Going to Share the Territories of Ukraine with Russia, Hungary and Romania?
- В ФЕЙСБУКЕ РАСПРОСТРАНЯЕТСЯ ОЧЕРЕДНАЯ ДЕЗИНФОРМАЦИЯ О ЗАПЛАНИРОВАННОМ ВТОРЖЕНИИ ПОЛЬШИ В УКРАИНУ
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