A German army Leopard 2 tank is seen at the railway station in Sestokai, Lithuania Feb. 24, 2017. Reuters


  • Russian media claims posters were placed across Poland recruiting locals to join Ukrainian tank crews
  • A video was published by a Belarusian news outlet showing the alleged poster in a subway station in Warsaw
  • The poster is reportedly similar to a 2018 enlistment campaign by Polish military

Russian media has spread false information that Poland is recruiting its residents to join the Ukrainian tank crews that would operate the German-built Leopard 2 battle tanks in the ongoing war, according to a report.

Independent Russian news outlet The Insider called the claims fake, noting that the suspicious information first appeared in the Telegram channel Callsign Bruce, which is run by so-called "war correspondent" Alexander Simonov.

The story was covered by the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, which published an article titled "Poland recruits locals for 'Ukrainian' Leopard tank crews."

The newspaper wrote that Polish authorities are putting up posters in public places in the country that encourage local residents to "crew the German Leopard tanks supplied to Ukraine," according to a translation provided by The Insider.

"Defend native Polish lands. Join a tank crew. Defend Poland in Ukraine," the alleged poster read, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Russian news website Lenta.ru ran the same story depicting the claim, while Belarusian publishing house Belarus Segodnya ("Belarus Today") published a short video showing the alleged posters in Warsaw's Centrum metro station on its YouTube channel.

But according to The Insider, the poster in the video has the same style as an advertising campaign launched by the Polish military to advocate enlistment for contract service.

The Zostań Żołnierzem Rzeczypospolitej, or "Become a Soldier of the Republic," campaign was launched in 2018 and has nothing to do with recruiting residents to join foreign militaries.

The video shared by Belarus Today and Callsign Bruce appeared to have been edited to include the "fake" poster encouraging Polish citizens to join the fight in Ukraine, the independent news outlet said.

The report said a poster bearing an image of a tank and a call to "defend the native Polish lands" in Ukraine doesn't exist.

The allegedly false information came after several Western countries agreed to provide Ukraine with more powerful and advanced battle tanks, including the German-made Leopard 2 tanks and M1 Abrams tanks from the U.S.

The decision to supply Ukraine with modern tanks was the conclusion of a diplomatic stalemate between Germany and the U.S., which were hesitant to provide the beleaguered country with their top-notch battle tanks. The two countries cited Ukrainian troops' lack of training and the maintenance of the tanks.

Ukraine is expecting up to 140 modern tanks from its Western allies during the "first wave of contributions."

Ukrainian soldiers have begun their training to operate the Leopard 2 tanks in Poland.

Polish authorities aim to fully train the Ukrainian troops in using the tanks in as short as five weeks.

"If we intensify training (by maximizing the number of) instructors, our time and our weekends, we can train an entire crew in five weeks," Polish Major Maciej Banaszynski, the Leopard training center commander, said.

More Ukrainian soldiers are slated to undergo training for Leopard 2 tanks, this time as part of a European Union-funded training mission.

Polish army train soldiers on Leopard tanks