On April 23-26, 2023, based on the Polish online portal Neon24, Russian online publications (ukraina.ru, Russia Today, tverskaya13.ru, voennoedelo.com, eadaily.com) as well as Russian– and Georgian-language Facebook users disseminated information about the alleged creation of a Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian military corps, arguing that the planned Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian corps will include 20-25 thousand military contract workers. The sources also claimed that only Ukrainian citizens holding a Polish card (PL-Karta Polaka, which is given to foreign citizens of Polish origin) could serve under a contract in the corps, and the composition of the Lithuanian brigade should be composed of Lithuanians of Polish origin, which may mean that in Western Ukraine only soldiers “Polish Roots” would be able to participate in a peacekeeping mission.
One of the Georgian-language Facebook users, Eduard Jishkariani, argues that the rumours that Zelenskuy promised the Polish president the lands of Western Ukraine in exchange for certain assistance and guarantees were not false.
The claim about the creation of a Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian corps, composed only of Ukrainian citizens holding the so-called Polish cards and Lithuanians of Polish origin, is false. The Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Peacekeeping Unit has been in existence since the fall of 2015 and is currently not recruiting volunteers. Also, there is no evidence that the unit plans to annex Western Ukraine.
On April 18, 2023, Polish citizens received text messages in the name of the Ministry of Defense stating that the Ministry of Defense was recruiting volunteers to serve in the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Corps. Also, in order to gain credibility, the e-mail address of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade: litpolu[email protected] was mentioned in the body of the text message.
On April 18, the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade denied the disseminated information on its Facebook and Twitter pages, stating that the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade does not recruit volunteers and encourages citizens to spread information based on official sources. The spokesperson of the brigade, Ołeksandr Mołodsow, told the RMF FM journalist that the unit does not recruit volunteers, and the amplifiers of disinformation aim to cause anxiety and confusion at at time when there is a war going on beyond their eastern borders. The information was also denied by the Twitter account of the Polish Cyberspace Defense Force.
According to the website Niebezpiecnik.pl, which works in the field of cyber security in Poland, information of similar content has been circulating on Telegram in recent days, the purpose of which may have been to prepare the ground for a propaganda message, which is expected to spread in the Russian media soon. According to the Commander of the Cyberspace Defense Forces, General Karol Molenda, in the recent days, those sources who are constantly disseminating information from the Russian influence apparatus, have been sharing disinformation about LITPOLUKRBRIG, as if the unit was planning to invade Ukraine under the pretext of a peacekeeping mission. “Such false accusations about Poland’s plans to take over Western Ukraine are a well-known vector of propaganda activities of the Russian Federation and Belarus.” – says Molenda.
The mentioned claim was verified by the Polish fact-checking platform Demagog. The article states that in the notification received by Polish citizens, instead of “brigade,” appears the word “corpse.” A brigade is the smallest tactical unit that is the primary combat unit of ground troops in the Army (although it is also found in other types of armed forces). A corps is a larger military unit that includes divisions, brigades or battalions.
The decision on the creation of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian peacekeeping unit (LITPOLUKRBAT) was made in 2007 by the defence ministers of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine during a meeting, and the agreement on its establishment was signed on September 19, 2014, in Warsaw. The headquarters of the unit, which consists of units of the Armed Forces of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, is located in the city of Lublin in eastern Poland. The creation of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade is part of the continuous process of unified and long-term military cooperation between Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania. LITPOLUKRBRIG consists of three international headquarters, three battalions and special purpose units. Servicemen of the brigade take part in combined exercises and international operations based on the mandate of the UN Security Council. The decision to redeploy LITPOLUKRBRIG to international operations is made with the General, subject to the consent of all constituent states.
In the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, pro-Russian actors have repeatedly been trying to convey the idea that Poland is using the war for its own purposes and actually wants to annex Western Ukraine. Myth Detector has debunked disinformation on the mentioned topic many times in the past:
- 3 Disinformation Narratives about the Alleged Attempts of Poland to ‘Seize’ Ukraine
- Disinformation of Yaakov Kedmi, as if Poland Plans to Deploy Troops in Ukraine
- Another Disinformation of the Kremlin as if Poland Plans to Annex Ukraine
- 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?
About the Source:
Neon24.pl (Forum of Poles), used by the Facebook user Eduard Jishkariani as a source, is an online platform where registered users can post information/blogs. The article, which was circulated on the social network from this forum, was prepared by the pro-Russian and nationalist Polish publication Niezależny Dziennik Polityczny. The publication has created an account on Neon24.pl, and 49 different articles can be found under its name.
Facebook user Eduard Jishkariani frequently publishes posts with anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western content. The user has disseminated fake news many times in the past, which is why several of its posts have been flagged as false information.
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