Disinfo: Georgian citizen wanted to get bats from South Ossetia for the Lugar Lab

Summary

Georgian citizen who was detained by the South Ossetian border guard has admitted that he wanted to get bats from South Ossetia for the Lugar laboratory. Lugar laboratory is a real threat to the life and health not only for citizens of South Ossetia and the population of Georgia, but it also carries a danger to countries of the entire Caucasus region. A lot has been written about the experiments and developments of this laboratory, including by the well-known Georgian general Igor Giorgadze who revealed this problem in great detail and who cannot be suspected of bias. There are special vehicles of a certain purpose near the borders of South Ossetia that could be involved in collecting biological material from citizens of South Ossetia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Lugar Lab. The claim contains multiple disinformation narratives.

First of all, the director of NCDC denied the allegations that detained Georgian citizen was collecting bats for the Lugar lab. As bats transmit various diseases, collecting bats for research purposes and returning them to their habitat has its security protocol. Earlier, Bulgarian journalist also accused the Lugar lab of conducting experiments on bats. Myth Detector reached out the Lab's researcher, who explained that the diseases transmitted from animals to humans are always studied using this method, e.i collecting animals. Research on bats is conducted worldwide, including in Russia.

Second, Georgia’s ex-security chief Igor Giorgadze is not a reputable source. He accused the Lugar lab in conducting experiments on the Georgian population through the well-known C hepatitis programme, that involved medication Sovaldi. Giorgadze then claimed that Sovaldi resulted in dozens of deaths. Later, in an interview with BBC Giorgadze himself denied that he had any proof to back up his allegations. Sovaldi, produced by Gilead, is listed among the vital medications in Russia.

Last but not least, there is no special vehicle aimed at collecting biological materials near ABL. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative targeting EUMM as if EUMM patrols are assisting and providing Lugar researchers with special equipment and cars. See earlier disinformation case here.

The Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), which became operational in August 2013. The Lugar centre is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Under no circumstances has this laboratory been designed or redesigned to build biological weapons.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 206
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: US, Georgia
  • Keywords: Lugar Laboratory, South Ossetia, Biological weapons

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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