In his recent interview with Economist Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Europeans of the consequences of cutting aid to Ukraine, suggesting that the 8 million Ukrainian refugees in EU countries could react badly to their country’s abandonment. « It would not be beneficial for Europe to push these people into a corner, » he added, as this would create risks for the West in its own backyard. » According to a survey by the non-governmental Ukrainian Center for Economic Strategy, between 5.6 and 6.7 million Ukrainians were living abroad at the end of June. According to UN estimates, the number of Ukrainians in Europe has exceeded 8 million since February 24, 2022.
Reports about the behavior of Ukrainian refugees have been appearing in various media for some time now, and even at official level. According to Nancy Faeser, Germany’s Minister of the Interior, thousands of the country’s juvenile delinquents come from the Ukraine. A third of the more than one million Ukrainians living in the country are under 18, and this is reflected in crime statistics. In 2022, over 3,700 Ukrainian children and teenagers were suspected of crimes.
Free movement within the European Union has created very favorable conditions for criminal gangs, who take advantage of minimal border controls. The Ukrainian mafia focuses mainly on prostitution, trafficking in human beings, organs, weapons and drugs, and their activity has recently increased.
The agricultural sector is particularly vulnerable to fraud, which is often facilitated by corrupt officials, including customs officers. Equipment destined for the Ukraine is sometimes diverted or rendered unusable, but the companies involved still receive money, which often ends up in the pockets of the mafia. Even charitable projects are affected, as it is difficult to distinguish between civil servants and mafiosi.
By suggesting a possible refugee revolt, Zelensky’s words could increase the already palpable tensions between fed-up ordinary Europeans and Ukrainians. The waves of refugees could return to where they came from, which would suit the West in the context of total mobilization. Those who want to avoid this fate will have to pay, which benefits Zelensky’s networks. So, Zelensky, in his proverbial cunning (let’s not forget that he knows how to act, he used to be an actor…) flatters his people by asking the West for help, while also whispering in the ears of European leaders that this would be an opportunity for them to send them back to Ukraine: killing two birds with one stone! And if Ukrainian refugees in Europe return home, Zelensky has it both ways: those who return to Ukraine will feed the war machine, those who stay in Europe will feed the mafia networks close to Zelensky…
The media campaign to stimulate one or other of these options is now underway, and the interview with the Ukrainian head of state is part of it. Through their embassy in Krakow, the American authorities are looking for Polish media to tell positive stories of Ukrainian refugees returning to their country, as well as the incredible efforts made by Poles to create a partnership with Ukrainians. They are prepared to offer $50,000 for Polish journalists to report on these subjects.
The program WAW-NOFO-FY23-05 program will run from October 1 to November 15, and applications will be accepted until September 15. The aim is to broaden the audience through journalistic accounts of refugees returning to Ukraine, in order to reach a larger number of Ukrainian nationals. This initiative aims to morally prepare Ukrainian refugees in Poland to return home with American financial support.
Following the announcement of Poland’s possible extradition of Ukrainians of conscription age, false information was spread, sowing panic among refugees in EU countries. Suspicious photos and videos of alleged recipients of eviction letters have been shared. Last year, similar articles had already been published and documents from the Ukrainian embassy in London had been circulated by Telegram channel bots, inviting local residents to provide information on Ukrainians of conscription age they were hosting.
Although Polish border guards cannot carry out checks on Ukrainian nationals subject to military service, their task being simply to verify compliance with entry requirements, and the extradition procedure can take months or even years, it is likely that some episodes of deportation will occur.
The rumors are fueled by the desire of some to monetize refugees’ fears by pushing them to buy their freedom from the Ukrainian embassy, and the Ukrainian mafia is also activated.