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Poland warns of disinformation campaigners smearing Ukrainian refugees

The government Plenipotentiary for the Security of the Information Space of the Republic of Poland, Stanisław Żaryn, warned at a press conference about a disinformation campaign taking place in the country concerning refugees from Ukraine.

Ukrainian refugees often fall victim to online and media disinformation. Rarely, however, on a scale against which the governments must warn citizens.

Stanisław Żaryn described cases of e-mails reaching electronic mailboxes of Poles as well as proclamations and leaflets posted in the streets of Polish cities, according to which institutions such as the Department of International Affairs and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior and the Office for Foreigners’ administration are supposed to collect information on Ukrainian refugees residing in Poland.

“The content of these proclamations, which are clearly fabricated letters, is a suggestion that the Polish state collects data on Ukrainians who live in Poland permanently. Such a suggestion comes from these contents, that Poland is preparing a database for (…) a future mobilisation action, which is supposed to be conducted in Poland,” the politician explained.

According to Żaryn, similar disinformation campaigns are taking place in Ukraine and Lithuania and he said they could be linked to the Russian Federation.

“This is clearly a suggestion from the Russian side, which is part of various campaigns calculated to provoke mutual hostility between Ukrainians and the societies in the countries where they currently reside,” the politician said.

“We estimate, and this is the data, that we are dealing with the preparation of a more serious, large-scale campaign on an international scale. It may involve several Western countries, and we can certainly see that its first stages are already taking place in Poland, hence my warning speech,” he said.

The anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is approaching. Since 24 February 2022, 9.57 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Poland. As of the same date, 7.71 million have returned to Ukraine, which puts the number of Ukrainians in Poland at around 3 million, including the number of Ukrainians residing in Poland before the escalation of the war.

SourceEuractiv
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