Disinfo: Coronavirus could have been created in a Ukrainian laboratory

Summary

While the world community is trying to find the origins of coronavirus, fifteen American biological laboratories are functioning in Ukraine, their work is supervised by the CIA officers. Therefore, we do not exclude that coronavirus infection “Covid-19” could have been developed in one of the biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about secret labs in Russia's neighborhood.

The World Health Organisation is working with Chinese authorities and global experts to learn more about the virus. The virus "2019-nCoV” comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. The medical Journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” specifically said there is “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering”.

See more examples of disinformation about the coronavirus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 194
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: coronavirus, laboratory
  • Outlet: rusvesna.su/
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There is no Russian disinformation campaign on coronavirus, despite EU claims

The job of EU’s European Sratcom Task Force is to dig on the internet to find something, no matter how small and insignificant, that can be presented as an example of the Russian disinformation through which Russia allegedly intends to destroy Europe. After analysing their report on an alleged Russian disinformation campaign on coronavirus, it’s clear that they had to resort to sites as “relevant” as izborsk.md, rubaltic.ru or tsargrad.tv. If we check those sites on SimilarWeb, we see that they reach positions as “influential” as 274,238 for New Eastern Outlook, 179,731 for Geopolitica.ru or 31,524 for Southfront.org. They only could find barely known sites written in languages as extended in the EU as Armenian, Belarusian or Latvian. And while they admit that there are conspiracy theories and colourful opinions in many countries and on a site hosted in Canada about say aliens pulling the strings at the UN – a project of a hermit with an internet connection – a similar site hosted in Russia is part of a massive governmental disinformation campaign. ESTF proved once again that their goal is not to clean the information space from fake news, but of news coming from Russia.

Disproof

The YouTube clip deliberately distorts the content of the ESTF report on a Kremlin-led disinformation campaign on coronavirus to portray it as biased and irrelevant. The presenter opts to ignore that many of the articles described in the report and hosted on the EUvsDisinfo database appeared in highly influential outlets like RT English (ranked in position 311 in SimilarWeb) or the different versions of Sputnik. Contrary to the claim, the database also features dozens of disinformation articles in widely spoken languages in the EU like English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Czech, Bulgarian or Arabic. All the disinformation cases exposed in both the ESTF report and database were published or broadcasted in outlets linked directly or indirectly to the Russian state.

The Kremlin's ongoing disinformation campaign around the coronavirus has been well documented by both media and governments, and some of its elements were widely reported by Russian and international publications and by the European External Action Service.

There was a coup d’état in Ukraine in early 2014

Relations between Russia and the European Union had deteriorated because of the situation in Ukraine, where a coup d’état took place in early 2014. In the same year, a referendum was held on the accession of the Crimean peninsula to Russia. The peninsula had until then belonged to Ukraine. The West accused Russia of interference and imposed sanctions as a result.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution as a coup d'etat and claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

European countries did not respond to the problems in Italy

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an insurmountable test for the EU on the strength of political and economic unity. This is already obvious. And the point here is not only how the community of European countries reacted to the problems in Italy. Rather, the EU did NOT respond, preferring to simply close the internal borders and even take medicine and medical equipment that could save thousands of human lives in Milan or Bergamo.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse and a speculative claim about "abandoned Italy" claiming that the EU left Italy alone to fight coronavirus.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU is failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, is disintegrating, together with the border-free Schengen area. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.