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These photos of African refugees are not from Russia-Ukraine crisis 

Claim: A group on Facebook shared pictures of some people it claimed are Africans maltreated at the Polish border due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. 

The people depicted in the acclaimed pictures are not Africans held at the Polish border fleeing the Ukraine crisis. These are Getty Images taken out of their original context to paint a false narrative.

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After Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, millions of Ukrainian residents have been making efforts to migrate to neighbouring countries for safety. This situation, described as the worst since the Second World war, triggered concerns from around the world.

However, when the African Union (AU) said it was “disturbed” by reports that African nationals in Ukraine are being prevented from safely crossing the border to flee the raging conflict in the country, the situation opened up doors for diverse narratives, especially pertaining to the lingering issue of racism in Europe.

It was amidst this context that a page on Facebook, “Biafra Defense Force” claims that Africans fleeing Ukraine are being dehumanised at the borders of neighbouring countries, particularly pointing out the Polish border, as a point of reference. 

The post is accompanied by a picture of some people described as Africans at a certain European border. 

 “BREAKING  16-03-2022 No Reasonable African man can stand with Ukraine “This is Russia and Ukraine war. Africans are treated like this. Whites are already in Poland Living peacefully. Then some Mugu Leaders are saying “we are with Ukraine, we stand with Ukraine”. Africans, no one cares for you if you are Black African. Look into the Picture yourself,” the post read. 

Screenshot of the claim on facebook 

The claim triggered diverse reactions with multiple comments that appear sympathetic towards the people in the picture. One user, Omomor Donatus, expressed his disappointment with African leaders, attributing the situation to bad leadership. 

“I deeply feel your pains, is all caused by our bad/tyrant leaders and mumu youths that are eating from their scrub supporting them,” he commented. 

Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, multiple reports have been tied around multimedia contents that DUBAWA had found to be misleading, a good reason this claim demands verification. 


When DUBAWA ran a Yandex reverse image on the pictures, results show that all three of the images were featured on Getty Images. Also, the details attached to the pictures reveal people depicted in the picture were African migrants who were held by the Spanish authorities while trying to cross the border into Spain from Morocco. 

“This video grab shows migrants arriving at the Temporary Centre for Immigrants and Asylum Seekers (CETI) in Melilla after jumping the border fence separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco on March 2, 2022,” reads the caption of one of the images. “Around 1,200 migrants tried to storm the border separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco on March 3, 2022, with 380 getting across, a day after the biggest such attempt on record.”

A screen of the two pictures first featured on Getty Images in March, 2022
Screenshot of the third picture featured on Getty Images


Although the people in the pictures are Africans, they were not held at the Polish border due to the crisis in Ukraine. Hence, this claim is false.

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