Disinfo: Ukraine has drones capable of spraying containers with mosquitos to spread bioweapons

Summary

Moscow appealed to the UN demanding an international investigation into US involvement in the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, because Russia has documents contain descriptions of projects to study the possibility of the spread of dangerous infections through migratory birds, including highly pathogenic influenza and Newcastle disease. The geographic coverage of these projects also includes territories in Russia, not just the Ukrainian regions bordering Russia.

Russia has been raising the issue of the development of biological weapons, combat pathogens, and viruses in Ukrainian laboratories since this spring. Russian troops in Kherson have discovered three drones that can be used to spray bioagents. It is also known about a drone patented in the United States that can spread mosquitoes infected with dangerous viruses. Such a drone transports a container with a large number of mosquito carriers of infection to a given area - and releases them.

Disproof

Recurrent false pro-Kremlin narrative on US biological weapons in Ukraine.

Pro-Kremlin media try to pass off a programme to create safe storage of pathogens and toxins in Ukraine for peaceful research and development of vaccines, as work on biological weapons.

See remarks by US Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council meeting on Russia’s unfounded allegations of biological weapons programmes in Ukraine, from 26 October 2022: "We hear Russia raises alarms that biological weapons will be delivered by birds and bats and now even mosquitoes. Birds and bats. Russia knows public health laboratories routinely study migratory animal species to assess and counter animal-borne pathogens. Bear in mind, much like Russia, birds and bats don’t tend to observe or respect sovereign borders. Russia’s assertions are absurd for many reasons, including because such species, even if they could be weaponized, would pose as much a threat to the European continent and to Ukraine itself as they would to any other country".

This bizarre and yet enduring narrative is a leitmotif in a years-old disinformation campaign conducted by the Kremlin and is currently deployed in an attempt to justify Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Some Kremlin disinformation narratives have been those accusing the West of running clandestine biological research programmes to wreak havoc around the world. In reality, all laboratories located in Ukraine are controlled by the Ukrainian government. In August 2005, the US and Ukrainian governments made an agreement to prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens and relevant expertise and to diminish potential biological risks. Partially, this agreement was aimed at modernising state laboratories in Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and other regions, consisting of upgrading lab equipment and repairs of premises.

The US Biological Threat Reduction Program is part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, also known as the Nunn-Lugar Program. This initiative, implemented since 1991, is aimed at helping the countries of the former USSR in the destruction of weapons of mass destruction. The Nunn-Lugar program operates in many post-Soviet countries; until 2014, it also operated in Russia.

The US Embassy in Ukraine previously addressed the claims about supposed bio-military labs in Ukraine, stating that this is a fabricated accusation in pro-Kremlin propaganda that aims to hinder the ongoing U.S.-Ukrainian partnership to reduce biological threats.

US, Ukraine and Georgia are signatory States of the binding UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction entered into force in 1975.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 315
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/11/2022
  • Article language(s) Russian,
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: Biological weapons, Invasion of Ukraine

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