Disinfo: Suspicious American military activity in Lugar lab

Summary

[There are] suspicious biological military activities by US experts at the Lugar laboratory in Georgia, in which serious epidemiological research is being conducted for the benefits of the United States.

The only visit by a group of foreign experts occurred on November 14-15, 2018 […] and clearly aimed at misleading the international community about the true condition of the laboratory.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Tbilisi-based Lugar Lab.

The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) in Georgia, which became operational in August 2013, and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system.

The Lugar laboratory does not "hide" its activities. On the contrary, as a partner institution of the World Health Organisation, it has been repeatedly inspected for adherence to international health standards. One such inspection, in September 2018, was carried out specifically in response to Russia's false accusations that the centre had been manufacturing bioweapons. 

And while Moscow refused to visit Tbilisi facility, one of the visiting experts said they "were given access to all areas of the site, examined relevant documentation, and interviewed staff, and concluded that the Centre demonstrates significant transparency. Our group observed nothing out of the ordinary, or that we wouldn’t expect to see in a legitimate facility of this sort."

 The U.S Embassy in Georgia previously addressed the conspiracy theories behind the Richard Lugar Centre as "nonsense and typical of Russian misinformation and propaganda campaigns." 

And the ministry of foreign affairs in Georgia responded by appealing “to assess the aggressive statements of the Russian officials towards Georgia, to condemn the obvious misinformation and not to allow raising doubts about the successful functioning of the exemplary institution in the region”.

It added that “although Georgia has no bilateral legal obligations on this issue, the country is ready to host another exercise/visit under the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, including with the participation of Russian experts”.

Read similar cases: "The US might develop pathogen agents in the Lugar Lab", "US has a secret biological laboratory in Georgia", or that the US is preparing biological weapons against Russia, and that Ukraine became a testing site for developing biological weapons and that US laboratories in Ukraine are deadly.

see more

Russia did not interfere in American affairs in 2016 and is not going to intervene

This is not the first time that the United States blame Russia for its own powerlessness. It was like that when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016. It is so now when the American authorities cannot take control of their own citizens. We (Russia) have never interfered in American affairs and are not going to intervene now.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Electoral interference by Russia has been extensively documented in numerous countries around the world. The independent research, media investigations and parliamentary inquiries point out to evidence linking Russian state actors with interference in various electoral processes, including the 2016 US presidental elections, Brexit vote, in the 2017 French Presidential elections, in the 2017 German Parliamentary elections etc. The list of essential research and analysis about the Kremlin's election meddling effort can be found here (Electoral interference).

COVID-19 mortality rates are very low in Russia also because many Russians do not get flu vaccines imported from the West

Western media have begun a kind of disinformation campaign against Russia and have questioned why there are so few deaths from COVID-19 in Russia.  One of the reasons why COVID-19 mortality rates are very low in Russia is that many Russians do not get flu vaccinations imported from the West.

Disproof

Recurring  narrative promoted by some pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that flu vaccinations increase the risk of COVID-19 and the lethality of the epidemic. The article provides no evidence to support its claims that Russia’s low official COVID-19 mortality rate are due to less extensive Western-imported flu vaccinations of its population.

The message contained in the article is consistent with  the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign about the coronavirus and attempts to push false health information,  in this case promoting anti-vaccine messaging, which is also a recurring element of pro-Kremlin disinformation.

The US imposed sanctions on Russia because it is afraid of its military might

One expert explained the real reason of US sanctions against Russia. Washington is trying to press Moscow through them because it is afraid of an armed conflict with Russia. The US can smash others in every area, except in the military field. They won’t enter in a war, they are scared.

Disproof

This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to portray international sanctions as anti-Russian. 

There is a reason for every US and EU round of sanctions on Russia. The US imposed them for the first time in March 2014 as a response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine. After that, it established fresh rounds due to Russia’s election interference, malicious cyber activities, human rights abuses, use of a chemical weapon, weapons proliferation, illicit trade with North Korea and support to Syria and Venezuela.