Fake video about fake Ukrainian passports being shared in Polish segment of social media site X

Fake video about fake Ukrainian passports being shared in Polish segment of social media site X

Restrictions on consular services for Ukrainian men abroad served as a reason for new wave of fakes

Polish-language pro-Russian bots on the social media platform X and Russian media outlets are sharing a video with the logo of United24 Media. The video tells that following the introduction of restrictions on consular services for Ukrainian military-age men, two employees of a Ukrainian consulate in Poland (an image of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Wroclaw was used) allegedly began to sell fake Ukrainian passports and earn $5,000 on each passport.

The video is fake as it cannot be found on United24 Media's official website or social media sites. The video was staged using videos and pictures that can be found in the public domain.

In particular, the shot with an "underground" machine for making passports was taken from a five-year-old video about a printing house in Poland.

Videos from Ukrainian TV channels' stories about foreign passports and ID cards were also used.

Footage of the alleged arrest and trial of "document forgers" has nothing to do with the production of fake passports and Ukraine, but was filmed during the trial in a district court of the city of Krosno in 2022. Then two men who committed a brutal murder were sentenced to 25 years.

Michal Marek, a Polish expert on countering disinformation and head of the Research Center for Contemporary Security Environment, told Ukrinform that after the recent introduction of restrictions on consular services for Ukrainian men aged 18-60, there has been a huge wave of Russian propaganda, disinformation and manipulation on this topic, where Poland "is presented as a certain zone of instability for which Ukrainians are responsible."

"That's why all kinds of fakes related to the topic of documents, passports, etc. will be actively promoted now," the expert said.

Such fakes are being spread by X accounts that influence the opinion of Polish radical groups supporting pro-Russian parties in Poland, such as Grzegorz Braun's Confederation of the Polish Crown, Marek said. According to him, they are spreading their narratives among people who have long held anti-Ukrainian views.

"There will be no large-scale effects in the promotion of this disinformation. However, there will be further radicalization of people who already have anti-Ukrainian views," the Polish expert concluded.

United 24 also reported that the video was fake.

Andriy Olenin, Yuriy Banakhevych

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