Disinfo: The Pentagon creates biological laboratories around the world to develop “combat” viruses

Summary

The Pentagon creates biological laboratories in different parts of the world to develop “combat” viruses and drugs that neutralise viruses. Most of these laboratories are located in the territories of the post-Soviet republics along the perimeter of Russian borders. Outbreaks of serious infectious diseases among the population could be connected with these laboratories. One such laboratory is the so-called Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health in Georgia.

Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory alleging, without evidence, that the United States develops biological weapons and has secret biological laboratories around the world. The disinformation claim also capitalises on the oft-recurring conspiracy theory about the Lugar Lab in Georgia, as well as laboratories in Ukraine. The implicit claim here is that the coronavirus may have originated in one of these labs as a biological weapon - one of the most common disinformation claims about the pandemic in pro-Kremlin media.

In fact, virology laboratories in Ukraine are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases by pathogens and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Georgia officially addressed the conspiracy theories behind the Richard Lugar Centre as "nonsense and typical of Russian misinformation and propaganda campaigns." 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. It is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Read more about the disinformation campaign surrounding the Lugar Laboratory on Myth Detector.

See similar disinformation cases like that the US prepares biological weapons against Russia, the US is constructing secret biological labs, and the Pentagon is working out a biological war strategy in the Baltics.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: US, Georgia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Lugar Laboratory, Virus / bacteria threat, laboratory, Biological weapons
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EU will provide Ukraine with financial support in exchange for the banking system and destruction of trade unions

[…] for its handout, the European Union not only wants to control the country’s banking system but also to strengthen the fight against corruption (read – to expand the network of grant-eaters), to reduce social payments (goodbye pensioners and the poor), to ban trade unions and to approve a Labour Code that legalises slave labour. But, of course, the adoption of the anti-Kolomoyskiy law by the Verkhovna Rada remains the key condition. Amendments to this law are currently being considered by the relevant committee [in the parliament].

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Ukraine and its relations with the European Union.

No such demands have been made upon Ukraine. As explained by the permanent representative of Ukraine to the EU, Mykola Tochytskyi, Ukraine will receive €1.2 billion in two tranches to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first €600 million will be provided at once, after the approval of the decision by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union unconditionally. The second tranche of €600 million will be provided under conditions. These conditions must be defined by the negotiations which will start soon. Therefore, the exact conditions on which this support will be granted to Ukraine have not yet been defined.

Cooperation between the Mediterranean countries threatens Germany’s hegemony

The cooperation between the Mediterranean countries might become a problem for securing Germany’s hegemony over the [European] continent. Of course an issue is that the interests of Spain, Portugal and Greece not always coincide, but all these countries have suffered greatly from the fiscal regime imposed by Germany and its financial policies.

The pandemic has demonstrated that Germany, in a time of crisis, does not with to help its partners in the European Union and is first and foremost preoccupied with its own interests. This has been the same all the time, but in more peaceful years, the illusion of European unity has been stronger.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about "German hegemony in Europe" and the EU's alleged imminent collapse.

This narrative also aims to pit EU member states against each other in an attempt to undermine European solidarity, another recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation tactic.

Ukraine acts on behalf of the US and NATO to escalate the situation at the Azov Sea

The construction of a Ukrainian naval base in the Azov Sea is an indirect attempt by the West to artificially create a new international problem and an area of military tension near the Russian borders. The Ukrainian navy is acting on behalf of the U.S. and NATO to escalate a problem on the unilateral militarization of the Azov Sea.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and the Azov Sea, the aggressive West, NATO encircling Russia and NATO belligerence. This is consistent with the narratives challenging Ukrainian statehood and painting the US and NATO as the puppet-masters of Ukrainian politics.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. Neither the US, nor NATO, control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity continue to be violated by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. Despite NATO having refuted such claims many times,  pro Kremlin propaganda systematically states that NATO planned to create military bases on the territory of Ukraine: in Crimea, Donbass, and now in the Sea of Azov. A bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. A treaty stipulates that agreement from each of the two littoral countries is required for warships from any other country to enter the internal sea.