Disinformation about the Alleged Dates of the Polish Annexation of Western Ukraine

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Reading Time: 6 minutes


On December 15-17th, Russian (Аргументи и Факты, info24.ru, Иносми) and Georgian (Georgia and World) media outlets reported that the dates of the Polish annexation of Western Ukraine are already known. The mentioned outlets cite the Polish edition “Dziennik Polityczny” as the source.

In the article, Polish columnist Hanna Kramer names specific dates of the annexation of Western Ukraine. According to her, the “liberation march” on Kyiv will begin on May 4th, 2023. According to the article, the prerequisite for this was military conscription, where all Poles between the ages of 18 and 65 were called to the commissariat, including those who had never served in the military. According to the author, the Polish army also expects help from “Polish mercenaries” – about 5,000 people who are now fighting on the side of Ukraine will turn against the Ukrainians, and on July 11th, a referendum will be held in the western part of Ukraine.

Kramer’s piece also includes a fragment of an article by another author of the same publication, Marek Galas, in which he notes that the legal documents related to the annexation process of Western Ukraine were signed already in February of this year during Duda’s visit to Kyiv. Galas cites the law “On the special status of Polish citizens in Ukraine” signed by Zelenskyy to substantiate his assertion.

The claim that Poland plans to annex Western Ukraine is a recurring disinformation amplified by the Kremlin that became active after the start of the war in Ukraine. 1. The claim that all people between the ages of 18 and 65 have been conscripted into military service is false: reserve training is an annual activity in Poland and mainly concerns Poles who have undergone military training in the past, while participation is voluntary for the rest of the population; 2. The claim that Poland intends to hold a referendum in Lviv on July 11th is not based on any factual information and is without evidence; 3. The law, which grants special rights to Polish citizens in Ukraine, entered into force on September 16th and does not call into question the issue of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  • Reserve training is an annual activity in Poland

In 2023, the Polish Ministry of Defense plans to recruit up to 200,000 people for reserve trainings. It is planned to recruit five different categories of people within the project. Notably, this is an annual procedure and, as the National Military Recruitment Center of Poland states, this year, the number has not increased and will not exceed 200,000.

An announcement on this topic was made on the Twitter page of the National Recruiting Center on December 7th, noting that conscription into the reserves mainly concerns people who have previously undergone training.

Source: National Military Recruiting Center

Justyna Balik, the representative of the Polish Central Military Recruiting Center, made a comment on the same topic on December 13th, 2022, to the Polish outlet Polsat News.

Justyna Balik: “We want to recruit people who have already undergone military training. This is an annual procedure. There is nothing new in this. Reserves were, are and will be retrained.”

According to the law adopted on March 12th, 2022, (DzU poz. 655), members of the passive reserve, i.e. people who have experience of military service but at this stage do not fulfil any military obligations and are under 55 years of age, will undergo military training; If they have the rank of the non-commissioned officer (junior commander), then the age limit increases to 63 years.

The 2023 project envisages training of 5 different categories of people, namely:

  1.       Military training – up to 200,000 reserve soldiers who have undergone military training in the past. This number also includes 200 persons who need to upgrade their qualifications to be appointed to military positions in military structures. Within this limit, 800 young people will also be trained, the program – “Academic Legion” participants, which is intended for student volunteers who are interested in military education.
  2.       Professional military service – up to 17,128 persons who can be drafted into active military service as professional soldiers;
  3.       Active reserve – up to 10,000 soldiers currently serving in the armed forces on an as-needed, part-time, indefinite basis;
  4.       Voluntary military service – up to 28,580 persons over the age of 18 who have not completed any military service in the past; volunteers, regardless of their qualifications and education; persons who completed military service in another country; persons who lived abroad and returned to the country and registered as permanent residents;
  5.       Territorial Defense Service – up to 38,000 soldiers for territorial defence;

Therefore, the assertion as if all people between the ages of 18 and 65 in Poland were summoned into the military commissariat is disinformation.

  • No Referendum is going to take place in Lviv

Information about the alleged plans of Poland to seize Western Ukraine in the “successful way” tried by Russia by holding a referendum in Lviv has been voiced by the Russian media in the past as well. This time, a specific date – July 11th, 2023 – was named. This information in the mentioned article is not based on factual evidence, and no source is named that the author relies on. Official Warsaw has never voiced a claim over Ukrainian territories.

It should be noted that according to the Constitution of Ukraine, the issue of territorial change of the country is decided through a national referendum and not at the regional level. Consequently, Poland will not be able to hold a referendum in Lviv.

See Myth Detector’s article on this topic:

Disinformation as if Poland Plans to Seize Lviv through a Referendum

  • The law, which grants special rights to Polish citizens in Ukraine, does not call into question the issue of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

The disseminated articles also mention the law on granting special rights to Polish citizens in Ukraine, claiming that the law calls into question the issue of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

On May 22nd, 2022, during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a draft law, according to which Polish citizens living in Ukraine would be granted a special status. The initiative was adopted in response to a law passed by Poland on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with the armed conflict. The draft law immediately became the subject of speculation in Russian publications. This project was discussed in the Rada of Ukraine on July 28th and supported by 283 MPs. On August 15th, the President of Ukraine signed the law, and it entered into force on September 16th.

According to the law, Polish citizens have the privilege of staying legally on the territory of Ukraine for 18 months and enjoying the same rights as Ukrainian citizens. The law includes the following aspects in particular:

  • Employment without additional permission (including scientific-pedagogical and medical workers);
  • Conducting business activities on the territory of Ukraine with the same rights as citizens of Ukraine;
  •  Social benefits, including disability, unemployment, disability, etc.
  •  Free education and scholarships;
  • Medical assistance with the same rights as Ukrainians;
  • Registering as a taxpayer and obtaining the registration number of the taxpayer’s registration card.

The law does not mention the issue of the right to vote nor the surrender of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

False claims about the alleged plans of Poland to annex Western Ukraine have been amplified by Kremlin actors and Russian propaganda media for years now, especially after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Official Poland has never expressed territorial claims over Ukraine. Stanislav Zharin, the spokesperson for the Polish secret services’ coordinating minister, repeatedly responded to the mentioned topic and called it disinformation. Zharin published an article on emerging-Europe on December 16th, in which he emphasized that Russia’s goal is to portray Poland as an occupier in order to create tension between the countries and neglect Polish aid to Ukraine.

Disinformation, as if Poland seeks to annex Ukraine, has been fact-checked by “Myth Detector” in the past as well. For more details, see our articles:

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Violation: Disinformation
Country: Poland, Ukraine

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