Disinfo: US imposed sanctions on Russian institutions over COVID-19 vaccine development

Summary

The second thing we [Russia] will surely see in the near future is a clash [with Western countries] over the vaccine. We are still awaiting sanctions for the COVID-19 vaccine. After all, they have already imposed sanctions on those institutions that participated in the development of it [the Russian COVID-19 vaccine].

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the western sanctions against Russia. The US Bureau of Industry and Security is indeed imposing sanctions on three Russian research institutions. This is stated in the document of the US Bureau of Industry and Security dated 27 August. US sanctions have nothing to do with the production of a vaccine against the new strain of coronavirus. According to the document the sanctioned entities are associated with development of biological and chemical weapons in Russia:

The ERC [the End-User Review Committee, composed of representatives of the Departments of Commerce, State, Defense, Energy and, where appropriate, the Treasury] has determined to add 33rd Scientific Research and Testing Institute; 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Kirov; 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Sergiev Posad; 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Yekaterinburg; and State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology under the destination of Russia, based on their involvement with the Russian military. Specifically, the ERC has reasonable cause to believe that 33rd Scientific Research and Testing Institute is a Ministry of Defense facility associated with the Russian chemical program and chemical weapons testing range, and that State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology is a Russian Ministry of Defense facility associated with the Russian chemical weapons program. The ERC also has reasonable cause to believe that 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Kirov; 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Sergiev Posad; and 48th Central Scientific Research Institute, Yekaterinburg are Ministry of Defense facilities associated with the Russian biological weapons program.

The list also includes companies from China, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Switzerland and the UAE.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, laboratory, Biological weapons, Chemical weapons/attack
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"Arrest" of 65 Russian planes for flights to Crimea is Kyiv's revenge for the Wagnerites

The office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced the “arrest” of 65 planes for their flights to Crimea. There is a version spreading on the Internet that these restrictions could be revenge for the Minsk’s surrender of 33 Russian citizens, whom Kyiv wanted to question.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine. There is no evidence to assume any connection between the seizure of Russian planes that flew to Crimea and the refusal to extradite Russian soldiers from Belarus to Ukraine. The "arrest" of the aircraft was due to their illegal visits to annexed Crimea. Since March 2014, Ukraine has closed the airspace over the occupied Crimean peninsula due to the inability to monitor flight safety. This was reported by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office of Crimea. Previously, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies had demanded compensation for flights over the territory of Crimea even before the events with the Russian private military soldiers ("Wagnerites") in Belarus. In 2017, the Ukrainian prosecutor's office of Crimea brought a respective lawsuit against Russia. Read earlier disinformation case about the arrest of Russian private military soldiers in Belarus: The West is involved in the detention of Russian citizens in Minsk.

Navalny's recovery disproves poisoning by Novichok

The German press writes about the supposedly new type of the Novichok. They write that it is a binary substance, that is, consisting of two components. But in order to bring such a substance into a combat state, an explosion is needed. And since there was no explosion in the case of Navalny, it means that there was no “Novichok” either. This can explain the blogger’s high speed of recovery. In any case, this could only be done by the Western special services, which have been working with substances of this type over the past 20 years. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that German military doctors immediately classified the test results. At the same time, Russia has not been working with such substances for 30 years.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Alexei Navalny's poisoning. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny.

Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here. The claim about an explosion needed in the case of a binary substance is plainly silly: many glues function the same way - two substances are simply mixed. Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but he lived for another six years. In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok. The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived.

Events in Belarus are organised by Poland, Lithuania, UK and various American foundations

All events in Belarus are organised by countries such as Poland, Lithuania, with the support of Great Britain and various American foundations – not Washington, not the White House, but American democrats, supporters of Soros, and so on. The Belarusian “revolution” has no chance of continuation, because “the rabid supporters of the overthrow Lukashenko, namely, Polish, Lithuanian politicians, are no longer supported by many other countries in Europe. Russia promised support to Belarus. Everyone in the West understands this.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign on Belarus based on recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, such as accusing other countries of interference and portraying popular protests against electoral fraud in the country as a Western-led colour revolution. It accuses Poland and Lithuania of a plan to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations. Unfounded statements about the US Democratic party's and Soros foundation's involvement in processes in Belarus. The countries of the EU or UK have nothing to do with the mass protests in Belarus. The protests erupted to contest the results of the presidential elections in Belarus on the 9th of August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has said that the elections were neither free nor fair. Poland and Lithuania support the independence and territorial integrity of Belarus. Poland and Lithuania, as well as the EU, have expressed support to people protesting in Belarus. Read our past analysis discussing various pro-Kremlin media allegations that Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Soros and other foreign actors are behind protests in Belarus. Read other examples of similar messages: Brits, Poles and Americans are fomenting chaos in Belarus; The West supports a bloody post-election Maidan scenario in Belarus; The West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus; Poland presented a plan of active interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus; Western countries and their domestic puppets aim at crushing Belarusian statehood, and The actions of the protesters in Belarus are controlled by foreign centres.