Without additional context, a video being shared online of Poles in a soup kitchen misleads viewers. The events took place in a World Central Kitchen canteen, which provides targeted temporary assistance to people affected by the war in Ukraine. Additionally, a certain number of places in this canteen are reserved for Poles in need of support. Just as before, low-income Poles can receive help at municipal homeless assistance centers.
Because of Ukrainian refugees, impoverished Polish citizens are denied food — this is another Kremlin propaganda manipulation aimed to discredit the idea of helping Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war. To support this narrative Russian propagandists are disseminating a video of Poles allegedly being refused food at one of the charity stations. “He was denied a plate of soup for impoverished citizens who earlier, could claim food,” OSN media writes.
The Solovyov Telegram channel, the first to spread this video, even wrote that “Poles in Poland are already treated worse than garbage”. The Solovyov Telegram channel belongs to Vladimir Solovyov, an ardent Putin propagandist and master of disinformation, who has been sanctioned by the US and the EU.
In a fragment of the video disseminated by the Russian media, a man distributing lunches refuses food to two Poles — the man filming the video and the woman accompanying him. “The money is aimed at helping a certain category of people,” the man in a World Central Kitchen logo t-shirt explains the reason for the refusal, and confirms that this food is intended for Ukrainian refugees.
The events in the video most likely took place in the Polish city Wroclaw, as the full version of the video posted on Facebook by Piotr Szypula, features a male voice commenting on the hot weather in Wroclaw. Moreover, in the video you can see a building with the words Wojsko Polskie, which is easy to geolocate. It is located in Wrocław at 48-80 Poznanska Street. The canteen building, entered by the man filming the video, has a World Central Kitchen sign. The TakePomóż.pl foundation is also located at this address. In the full video, the man filming asks a woman who is at what appears to be a bus station to go with him, show him where the food kitchen is and not say anything about him filming. Piotr Szypula’s Facebook page is filled with videos talking about media manipulation of the masses, conspiracy theories and social unrest in Poland due to the government’s policies.
World Central Kitchen is a non-profit charity foundation which supplies food to those affected by natural disasters or other crises. The Polish foundation TakePomóż.pl together with World Central Kitchen provides assistance to Ukrainian refugees who were forced to leave their country because of Russia’s invasion and war.
The Polish fact-checking project Demagog, which also came across this video, contacted the World Central Kitchen representative in Poland. The organization said it had been helping Ukrainian refugees since the war began, and its main goal was to deal with the crisis caused by the sudden and large influx of people. They help both Ukrainians fleeing abroad and internally displaced persons in Ukraine.
“We really cannot provide food for every Wroclaw citizen. We recognize that there is a demand that goes beyond refugee needs, and we regret the circumstances of someone being denied food in the video. We pride ourselves on serving with dignity and care. We see an urgent need to provide food to those directly affected by the crisis. Long-term support requires a more systemic approach and goes beyond World Central Kitchen’s mission and capabilities. Nevertheless, we fully understand the importance of the problem,” World Central Kitchen Relief Operations Lead Wojciech Tycholiz said in a comment for Demagog.
Demagog journalists also contacted TakePomóż.pl foundation president Jan Piontek. He reported that although the canteen on Poznańska Street provides only temporary assistance exclusively to people affected by the war in Ukraine, together with the World Central Kitchen organization they decided to also distribute food to certain categories of Poles in need.
“At our request, this organization decided to provide food to Polish citizens who are in greatest need. 100 places were allocated for Poles. After checking the people registered in our fund, we selected those who really need it the most — the sick, the homeless, the disabled,” Jan Piontek told Demagog.
The story of Telewizji Echo24 proves that certain categories of Poles really can get free food in this center. In a report dated August 2, 2022, people from Poland and Ukraine can be seen receiving food at the center on Poznanska Street.
Wrocław residents in need can receive systemic support at the municipal homeless assistance centers, a list of which is available on the Municipal Social Welfare Center on Wrocław website.
Previously, StopFake debunked false information that Britain had allegedly already decided to “get rid of” Ukrainian refugees.