Polish government confirms that online military draft report is false 

The Polish government announced that a story about Poles being mobilised to fight in Ukraine, which appeared on the state news agency’s website, was a false report and was likely the result of a Russian cyberattack. 

The fake report emerged as NATO foreign ministers gathered in the Czech Republic to discuss long-term support for Ukraine amid its conflict with Russian forces.

The fabricated article falsely claimed that former Prime Minister Donald Tusk had announced Poland would begin a partial military mobilisation. It stated, “Two hundred thousand Polish citizens, both ex-military and regular civilians, will be called up for mandatory military service. Everyone called up will be sent to Ukraine.”

The Polish Press Agency (PAP) swiftly deleted the article within minutes of its publication, asserting that “the source of the text is not the Polish Press Agency.” Despite this, the article reappeared briefly before being removed again. PAP is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the false story’s appearance.

Several indicators suggested the article was fake, including the absence of quotes, a lack of precise sources, a verbose writing style, and no journalist’s initials at the end.

Poland, a member of the European Union, has been a strong supporter of neighbouring Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in February 2022 and it serves as a primary conduit for transferring Western weapons and munitions to Kyiv.

According to Donald Tusk, the hacking attack is part of an attempt by Russia to destabilise the EU in the run-up to next month’s European Parliament elections and, in recent months, there have been several attempts at sabotage, arson and diversion in Poland on Russia’s behalf. 

In a post of X, he said: “This yet another very dangerous hacker attack is a good illustration of Russia’s strategy of destabilisation on the eve of the European elections. It is increasingly clear how important these elections are for us.”

Security services spokesman Jacek Dobrzynsk added: “Given the probable Russian cyberattack on the Polish Press Agency and the release of disinformation on alleged mobilisation in Poland, the ABW and the digital ministry have taken swift action.”

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