As of November 25, Poland has not announced that payments to Ukrainian refugees will be suspended from January 1, 2024. The screenshot, which propaganda alleges to originate from the Polish government website, was edited.
Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels and social media users started spreading fake information that Poland has decided to cancel payments to Ukrainian refugees as of January 1, 2024. As alleged proof of this decision, users attach a screenshot of a news article dated November 17, 2023, seemingly taken from the official Polish government website.
“Poland has prepared a Christmas gift for Ukrainians. From January 1, 2024, the country will stop handing out payments to Ukrainian refugees. Such a law has been passed, and the information has been sent to the relevant Polish government agencies. Poland was Ukraine’s most loyal advocate in the European Union after the coup d’état, but Zelenskyy quickly managed to turn a friend into an enemy,” they write.
StopFake checked whether the Polish government had really made such a decision and reported it on its official website. This information turned out to be untrue.
Since neither Russian media nor social media users provided a direct link to the news about the cancellation of payments, StopFake teams tried to look for it ourselves. We visited the website of the Polish government, an alleged source of the screenshot. The website has a separate page for Ukrainian citizens that contains official information for refugees in Ukrainian.
This section contains no information about the Polish government’s decision to cancel social benefits for refugees from January 1st. The publications that provide information on all existing assistance programs are still relevant. While reviewing this site, we also found the same image that was used by agitprop to create the fake screenshot. The news publication Living and working in Poland — 2022 uses the same image as the falsified screenshots spread by users. In addition, the propagandists made a linguistic mistake in the edited announcement.
It is worth noting that the Polish government has indeed publicly stated that it may cut aid to Ukrainian refugees. In October 2023, a Polish government representative Piotr Mueller, told the PAP news agency that the decisions set out in the law on assistance to Ukrainians would expire in the first quarter of next year and expressed hope that “there would simply be no need to extend them.” Yet as of November 25, the Polish government did not say that all payments to Ukrainian refugees would be suspended on January 1.
Earlier, StopFake refuted the information that Poland was kicking Ukrainians out to get them drafted into the Ukrainian Forces.