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Davos World Economic Forum. Duda said: “we have disarmed our own army”? What did the president really say

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“He gave fuel to Russian propaganda”, “he tells us that we are defenseless as a country” – comment Internet users on the recording of President Andrzej Duda’s speech in Davos, which has been sent online. Their indignation is caused by a sentence on the yellow information bar superimposed on the screen. Only what is written on it is manipulation.

“Andrzej Duda in Davos at the World Economic Forum: we disarmed our own army to give the tanks to Ukraine” (original spelling – ed.) – reads the inscription on the yellow beam superimposed on a fragment of the recording of President Andrzej Duda’s speech on January 17 in Davos during the World Economic Forum. Video, which is supposed to confirm such words, appeared on the same day on an anonymous Polish-language Twitter profile. The Internet user who published them wrote in the post: “President @AndrzejDuda in #Davos fluent English admits that we did not return the tanks from the reserves, we just disarmed our own army. No comment …”. The post quickly went viral, with almost 180,000 likes in the afternoon. views and over 2 thousand. likes. On the account that retweeted the video with the yellow bar, the post had over 1.7 thousand likes. likes.

The recording lasts just over a minute. These are two fragments of Andrzej Duda’s speech translated live by the TVP Info translator. After branding the frame, you can see that the material comes from this station – but the yellow bar at the bottom with the words that the president was supposed to say is no longer there (it was not in the station’s report). However, it is supposed to resemble information beams known from TV stations – and it is it that causes comments from Internet users.

“It stops being fun”; “But he gave fuel to Russian propaganda…”; “What a moron you have to be to say publicly that we are disarmed”; “The condition of our army is known to the world. But you have to be a dummy to say it publicly, on an international forum”; “In Poland, he shouts that we are a power, and outside he tells everyone that we are defenseless as an independent country”; “If it’s not a state tribunal, I don’t know. Of course, it’s about the disarmament of the Polish army” – commented on Twitter (original spelling of posts).

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However, we checked: the words visible on the yellow stripe were not uttered, there was no such message in the president’s speech. So what did Andrzej Duda really say?

“We took these tanks from our regularly stationed military units”

On the first day of the World Economic Forum, the Polish president took part in a discussion entitled “In defense of Europe”, which was devoted to the war in Ukraine. The panel also included the presidents of Lithuania – Gitanas Nauseda and North Macedonia – Stewo Pendarowski and the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Swiatłana Cichanouska. We watched the progress of this panel on the official one channel World Economic Forum on YouTube. We did not follow the translation of the words of the Polish president heard on the fragment that was sent (in which there are no words visible on the yellow bar or such suggestions).

At one point, the panel leader asked about the supply of military equipment to help Ukrainians fighting against Russia. “Five days ago I announced our decision to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine. We decided to send a company of Leopard tanks to Ukraine” – said Andrzej Duda. He expressed hope that Ukraine would get Leopard 2 tanks from the coalition of countries and that Germany, the manufacturer of these machines, would agree to it. He added that Poland had already sent modern Krab howitzers to Ukraine.

“We sent over 260 of our old tanks to Ukraine. We had these tanks from the USSR,” he said and added (this fragment is in the video being sent): “From what I remember, it was half a year ago in March. They needed these at that moment tanks. It was an urgent need. (…) It was more than we could afford. We didn’t have these tanks in our reserves. We took these tanks from our permanent military units.” The end of this statement is repeated on the now popular recording, followed by another fragment of the Polish president’s speech.

Panel “In defense of Europe”EPA/GIAN EHRENZELLER

“There was a time when we sent almost all of our Thunderbolts”

At the end of the panel, in the questioning part of journalists, when it was again about arms deliveries, Andrzej Duda said: “Even Lithuania, which is a small country, but sent practically all …”. “Not all weapons. Not all weapons,” the Lithuanian president denied laughing. “Not all weapons,” Duda corrected himself and continues (this fragment is on the video being sent): “But Stingers, all your Stingers, all your Stingers. There was a moment when we sent practically all our Pioruns.”

So there is no message in this statement that “we disarmed our own army to give the tanks to Ukraine.” All the more so, such words did not come out of the president’s mouth (or even the translator of TVP Info) – which is suggested by the inscription on the yellow beam. As we checked, it was the Internet user who posted the video on the web who added subtitles on a yellow background. He does it regularly – he publishes recordings with politicians, placing his commentary in the yellow field, not actual quotes.

Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka/PAP

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