Disinfo: US military biological laboratories encircle Russia

Summary

US military biological laboratories encircle Russia. US military biological activities can be observed all over the world, and also on Russian borders. Moscow has long been concerned about the biological security in neighbouring countries. In Kazakhstan, Armenia and Tajikistan, the Americans created a network of biological laboratories. The Russian authorities have many questions particularly about the Lugar Centre in Georgia. (…) Journalists and bloggers wrote seriously that the Americans had deliberately allowed the virus to spread. This was allegedly to test the efficiency of biological weapons under development in the lab (in Kazakhstan). (…) Experts agree that the post-Soviet states, with their willingness to accept foreign assistance, may lose control of the epidemiological situation. This could have serious consequences. In times of pandemics such as at present, laboratories of this kind are increasingly coming into focus because they provide worrying suspicions.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the development of biological weapons by the United States. The conspiracy about US biolabs in countries bordering Russia aiming to encircle Moscow and spread infectious diseases is a part of a years-long disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin. There is no evidence to claim that the US is developing biological weapons. There is also no evidence to support the claim that partnering biolabs under the agreement have become epicentres for the spread of infectious diseases or have been used to attack populations. Contrary to the claims of the pro-Kremlin media, the Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). The Lugar centre is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. In no case has this laboratory designed, redesigned or built biological weapons. Read more about the Lugar lab on Myth Detector. See related disinformation cases alleging that China and Russia are worried about in-transparent US biological laboratories on Russia’s borders and that the Pentagon creates biological laboratories around the world to develop “combat” viruses.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German, Russian, Romanian
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Western countries prohibit COVID-19-affected countries from contacting Russia for help

The principle of “everyone for himself” triumphs. The notorious Euro-Atlantic solidarity turned out to be more expensive than the lives and health of tens of thousands of ordinary citizens. Тhe West has an inhumane approach to the coronavirus pandemic. Western countries are trying to take advantage of the situation to punish governments that they dislike. For example, prohibiting a number of Western states from turning to Russia for humanitarian aid.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit Western countries and the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge to Europe's readiness for a crisis. However, the European Union is anyway supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. To support scientific research into the COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47,5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks. The EU has also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more about the EU's response here and here. On the 26th of April Economy Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni said that a recovery fund to help EU countries weather the coronavirus’ economic impact should be worth €1.5 trillion and be available by mid-September. Russian propaganda continues to push the message that the west is prohibiting countries to ask for aid from Russia without any pieces of evidence provided. See similar case and further debunk here.

Pentagon controls the work of 15 bacteriological laboratories in Ukraine

15 bacteriological laboratories created with the participation of the USA have been operating in Ukraine since 2005 – with a break for the reign of Viktor Yanukovych. Ukrainians are not aware of what is done in these laboratories, except that the Pentagon controls their work.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the US developing biological and/or chemical weapons around the world. The security service of Ukraine called the messages about the existence of foreign biological laboratories in Ukraine false. "There are no foreign biological laboratories in Ukraine. Statements that were recently made by some politicians are untrue and deliberately distort the facts," the SSU statement says. The cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in the direction of combating biological terrorism takes place exclusively within the framework of Ukrainian legislation and in the interests of Ukraine. Also in 2005, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the U.S. Department of Defence signed a framework agreement on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons. Within the framework of this Agreement, a number of state laboratories located in Odesa, Kharkiv, Lviv, Kyiv, Vinnitsia, Kherson and Dnipro regions were modernised (repair works were carried out, equipment was updated, consumables were purchased, etc.). The Security Service of Ukraine emphasises, that these laboratories are financed from the state budget, subordinated to the Ministry of Health and the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. Read similar disinformation cases about foreign laboratories in Ukraine.

The MH17 disaster was planned by Ukrainian, American, and Dutch intelligence agencies

The crash of flight MH17 is an operation planned by American, Dutch, and Ukrainian special services. The intelligence agencies of the United States, Ukraine, and the Netherlands, acting together, have prepared several options for the destruction of the aircraft. This explains why the two fighters appeared in the sky at the time of the crash. Besides, a large number of batteries that might ignite could be in the bow of the plane. And this, in turn, indicates the possibility of an explosion. They wanted the Boeing to fall on the territory controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic in order to complicate a real investigation of this incident.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory attempting to undermine the Joint International Investigation of the downing of the flight MH17. A special team, known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), was established to conduct the criminal investigation of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The JIT comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The JIT has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation, missing one missile. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The public trial opened on 9 March in The Hague. None of the men was present during the first hearing. See similar disinformation cases claiming that Dutch intelligence found no trace of the BUK anti-aircraft missile, that MH17 was shot by CIA-controlled SBU, that MH17 crash was triggered by an explosion on board, that the MH17 disaster was planned by Ukraine and Western intelligence agencies.