Fact Check: Polish Humanitarian Fund Will NOT Reclaim Money From Ukrainian Refugees In Poland


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Polish Humanitarian Fund Will NOT Reclaim Money From Ukrainian Refugees In Poland Denied

Does the humanitarian Polish Organizations Pooled Fund (POP) intend to reclaim money from Ukrainians who have not yet settled in the country and are not currently paying taxes? No, that's not true: The head of external relations of the Polish Center for International Aid denied this claim to Lead Stories. Also, Lead Stories found no evidence for the claim made.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on December 16, 2023, on the TikTok account @world.news032 (archived here).

The caption (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Poland will demand up to five million zlotys from Ukrainian refugees. Special POP Fund intends to reclaim up to five million zlotys from Ukrainians who are still not settled and who are not currently paying taxes. The purpose of these funds is to fill gas storage facilities.

This is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-28 at 12.04.10.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed, Feb 28 12:04:31 2024 UTC)

The official website explains that the Polish Organizations Pooled Fund (POP) is "a new form of funding to support programs for refugees and asylum seekers in Poland and for host communities." Lead Stories conducted a Google search on the POP website with the words "recover funds from Ukrainians" (archived here) and a Google search (archived here) on Poland's foreign ministry official website with the same key words on March 5, 2024. No evidence was found that the claim published in the video was true.

Additionally, a Google search for the phrase "Poland will demand up to five million zlotys from Ukrainian refugees" (archived here) and "Polish Fund intends to recover funds from Ukrainians who are not currently paying taxes" (archived here) conducted on February 8, 2024, using Google News' index of credible news sites did not yield any evidence that this claim was true.

On February 8, 2024, Zofia Kwolek, the head of external relations at the Polish Center for International Aid, confirmed to Lead Stories in an email that the claim was false. She wrote:

In 2023, funding for Polish NGOs providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from Ukraine decreased significantly compared to 2022. In response, the Pooled Fund for the Refugee Response in Poland (POP Fund) was created to facilitate continued support from institutional and private donors. Managed by PCPM - Polish Center for International Aid, the POP Fund is operationally similar to Humanitarian Funds set up in other situations but is tailored to enable greater involvement of corporate donors. More information is available at www.popfund.pl. It is very easy to verify the information, see page 151 in the official UNHCR report. The claim is completely false.

The UNHCR report can be found here (archived here).

In March 2023, the Russian online media portal Krasnaya Vesna published a claim (archived here) that Poland was demanding the return of 2 million zlotys ($507,434) that had been wrongly paid to Ukrainian refugees, citing the Polish media outlet Rzeczpospolita. However, what Rzeczpospolita reported (archived here) is that the Polish Social Insurance Institution is trying to reclaim funds from Ukrainian refugees who left Poland after receiving the money. Krasnaya Vesna failed to explain that it is about refugees who left Poland, which has led to the misleading impression that all Ukrainian refugees are obliged to pay back the money.

More information (archived here) about the recovery of funds is published on the Visit Ukraine website, a site for visitors who want to travel to Ukraine and for Ukrainians who want to travel abroad.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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