A recurrent conspiracy theory about the development of biological and chemical weapons by the US in secret labs in other countries, including Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. The Lugar Center in Georgia is a recurrent target in these disinformation narratives.
The article does not refer to any evidence that supports the claim that the US is secretly developing biological weapons in laboratories around the world, thus making unfounded accusations. Russia claims that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia, a public health facility named after US Senator Richard Lugar, is one such lab, but has never presented evidence to support its allegation. International experts visited the facility in 2018 to examine the premises, interview employees and review documents but found nothing suspicious.
The Lugar Center was constructed as part of the US Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP). The program is carried out by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and has been implemented in Russia, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. The goal of the BTRP is to safeguard global health by preventing and containing the outbreak of infectious diseases and establishing high international standards in biological security. The DTRA constructed and developed the Lugar Center and handed it over to the Georgian National Center for Disease Control in 2013. The Lugar Center is described by the US Embassy in Georgia as a “state of the art biosafety level 3 research facility”.
Similar disinformation cases allege that the Lugar facility is part of a network of laboratories connected to the creation of COVID-19, that the facility is intentionally infecting locals with COVID-19, that the facility is studying infectious pathogens, that Russia has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile while the US hasn’t, and that the US surrounds Russia with biological laboratories in preparation for a future attack.