Fake circulating in Poland about 'Ukrainian trace' in road accident in Szczecin

Fake circulating in Poland about 'Ukrainian trace' in road accident in Szczecin

It started to be spread to Polish audiences after the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack

On March 1, 2024, an unknown person drove into a crowd of people in the Polish city of Szczecin, injuring twenty people, including six Ukrainian citizens. Following the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack near Moscow, pro-Russian Polish internet resources, Telegram channels, and bots on social media platforms X and TikTok began spreading information that the alleged suspect in the case was a Ukrainian military officer. They also claimed that the Polish authorities were attempting to conceal this “fact”.

Russian z-Telegram channels and Belarusian media also began to spread this material.

This is a fake. The suspect in the accident in Szczecin is a 33-year-old Polish citizen. Immediately after the accident, most Polish national media outlets, including Gazeta Wyborcza and RMF24, reported that the perpetrator was a 33-year-old Pole.

In a comment to an Ukrinform correspondent in Poland, the spokesman for the District Prosecutor's Office in Szczecin, Piotr Wieczorkiewicz, confirmed that the perpetrator was a local resident, a Polish citizen. Currently, experts are conducting a psychological examination of the perpetrator of the accident. The results of this examination may lead to the perpetrator being released from criminal liability on the grounds of mental illness.

The source of the fake was the Polish information resource Kancelaria LEGA ARTIS, which is run by the law firm Lega Artis. This “portal” is known for spreading Russian propaganda narratives about Ukraine and has a dedicated section called “Ukraine” where negative or fake information about Ukraine and Ukrainians is published. Additionally, the Kancelaria LEGA ARTIS website contains various conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination materials.

The website has only two "journalists" - Ignacy Michalowski and Daniel Glogowski, both of whom claim to have 20 and 30 years of journalistic experience, respectively. However, neither “author” has any social media accounts. This is not surprising, because they do not exist. Both "journalists" are fictitious. Their photos are generated by artificial intelligence and then distributed on stock image websites.

As one of the "arguments," the Kancelaria LEGA ARTIS publication cites a screenshot of a post from the Facebook page Wypadki and Pożary w Zachodniopomorskim, which publishes news about road accidents in Poland. The screenshot indicates that the perpetrator of the accident was a Ukrainian.

However, there is no such message on this Facebook page. There is only a post saying that the suspect in the crime is a 33-year-old resident of Szczecin, who has Polish citizenship.

It is important to note that the soldier, who was falsely accused of the crime by the fake makers, actually defended Avdiivka from Russian troops and was awarded the medal “For the Defense of Avdiivka” on January 31, 2024.  He differs completely from the driver who was detained in Szczecin.

Earlier, fakes with passport photos of Ukrainians allegedly involved in a terrorist attack in Russia were spread on social media.

Andriy Olenin, Yuriy Banakhevych

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