Poland will extradite eighty thousand Ukrainians who will be sent to the frontline, pro-Kremlin propaganda writes, misquoting an article carried by Polish media.
Propaganda: Ukrainian men in Poland will be extradited and conscripted in the Ukrainian army.
NEWS: “Polish authorities have started extraditing enrollment-age Ukrainian men who illegally fled Ukraine. The first to be extradited were Ukrainians who were involved in the illegal transportation of fugitives to Europe, Rzeczpospolita wrote on September 4.
The article claims that, starting February 2022, some 2.87 million Ukrainian citizens aged 18-60 have entered Poland, of which only 2.8 million have returned, meaning at least 80,000 Ukrainian men can be conscripted.
“This is an important figure for Ukraine, because these people could have been mobilized and would strengthen the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces, consolidating our defense and security”, Fedir Venislavsky, Member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, Representative of the President to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has said. […]
EU Member States have long supported immigrants, providing them with accommodation and assistance, yet refugee fatigue has surged to such an extent, that last week three countries – Poland, Germany and Belgium – announced the extradition of Ukrainians.
NARRATIVE: Ukrainian men in Poland will be extradited and sent to the frontline
Fact: War refugees can only be extradited in case they committed serious crimes, and the procedure often spans years.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, the Polish publication Rzeczpospolita did not write about the extradition of all Ukrainian men, but merely about the enforcement of an international arrest warrant for people illegally transporting Ukrainian citizens to EU Member States in general and to Poland in particular.
In the context of this illicit scheme, a large number of men eligible for military service ended up in Poland, and Rzeczpospolita made public estimates of those who are legally residing on EU territory and those who don’t. Quoted by the Polish publication, Fedir Venislavsky said people who were involved in the illegal transport of Ukrainian citizens might be extradited with the help of Interpol. The Russian media leaves out some of the original paragraphs in the article in order to manipulate public opinion and argue that all Ukrainian men from Poland, Belgium and Germany will be extradited and sent to the frontline.
In fact, Ukrainian authorities themselves admitted extradition procedures, even in the case of people who committed serious crimes, including former officials involved in corruption schemes, is very complicated and can take several years. Each case must be examined separately and followed by an extradition request. Also worth noting is that international legislation as well as the recommendations issued by human rights organizations ban the extradition of people who fled conflict zones. A ruling issued by a court of law is required in the case of people who committed serious crimes. Additionally, each person is tried on the territory of his current residence.
According to the European Convention on Human Rights, foreign nationals can be deported / extradited only in compliance with the legal provisions in force. In other words, an EU Member State cannot adopt a political decision to deport Ukrainian men with a view to getting them enrolled in the army, as separate decisions for each case are thus required. Furthermore, people who applied for refugee status are offered protection at the level of EU member states. Moreover, the UN Convention on the status of refugees forbids signatories from deporting people who fled armed conflicts. EU Member States have to comply with all these international recommendations.
Russian propaganda misrepresented the information about Ukraine’s cooperation with some EU members in terms of holding accountable those Ukrainian citizens who committed serious crimes, generalizing the rules based on which all men residing on Polish territory can be extradited. The purpose of this narrative is to spread distrust towards Polish authorities and other states that have provided assistance to Ukrainian refugees since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Veridica has debunked a series of Russian false narratives about the situation of war refugees, including a similar one according to which the EU will deport to Ukraine refugee men. The Russian media also wrote that Ukraine will be annexed by Poland in order to become part of NATO, whereas more and more Ukrainians will file for Russian citizenship in order to protect their children from the EU.