Never heard of the Lugar laboratory in Georgia? Neither have many of us. But it is a familiar name for the readers of a whole network of websites promoting the most obscure pro-Kremlin conspiracies globally.
Just to highlight some examples:
2016: The US is constructing secret biological labs in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine to attack Russia.
2017: American laboratory in Georgia creates biological weapons.
2018: US laboratory in Georgia is like a Nazi death camp and people living close to it like Mengele’s patients.
One strand of Russia’s large and months-long disinformation campaign around the Salisbury attack – which backfired latest in September and continues to backslide – has been spreading the usual smokescreen that anybody else but Russia is behind the use of chemical weapons on European soil.
When the attempt to confuse and distract the majority of the European audience about the attack failed, efforts shifted and started to focus on the disinformation heavy users. In general, this aim of pushing the conspiracies from marginal to the mainstream attention has already gained results among the Russian-speaking audience: Conspiracy theories are on average six to nine times more frequent now than they were in 2011 in Russian media.
In the specific case of Georgia, this has led to coordinated efforts, including a press conference organised in Moscow right after the UK released the names of the two Salisbury attack suspects. In the briefing, Georgia’s ex-security chief (who fled to Moscow years ago) claimed the Lugar laboratory creates biological weapons, and the topic was extensively covered by Russian TV channels.
In April, these claims were presented by Russia’s Foreign Ministry that came out with its own hint: A Georgian trace might be found in the Skripal poisoning! These conspiracies have reached Bulgaria, English-language blogs and ZeroHedge – and of course Russia’s disinformation channels Russia Today and Sputnik.
So, finally, let us introduce you to the The Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL)! It is a laboratory based in Tbilisi, Georgia, which detects and tackles disease outbreaks. The United States provided USD 350 million for the construction and technical equipment of the laboratory. From this year on, the Government of Georgia will assume responsibility for full funding and operation of the Lugar center and laboratory network. In fact, Russia has itself given support to a similar facility in Armenia (also facing repeated pro-Kremlin disinformation attacks).
This week, the civil war road show travelled north east and we heard that same urgent alert regarding the Baltic countries: now it is Latvia that has apparently joined the European countries waging an internal war.
Ukraine is the only country from these targets of Russia’s disinformation where in fact a war is ongoing. And despite Russia’s disinformation, it is not a civil war, but a war provoked and maintained by Russia itself.
RIA news agency
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about "official delegations" allegedly visiting Crimea.
This isn't an official delegation. According to local media, the Norwegian delegation includes a member of the Norwegian Physicians against Nuclear Weapons, an actress, Professor of Statistics at the Department of Economics of the University of Oslo, as well as farmers, entrepreneurs, and public figures.
No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Europe and Nazism. https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77154&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77101&date=, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/page/2/?s=nazi
There has been no assault. According to the Ukrainian law, the owner of the church building and all church property is not the patriarchy or the diocese, but the parish community, even when the parishioners decide to move from one Church to another.
Further debunk by The Insider.
Similar disinformation: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/neo-nazis-preparing-to-assault-a-monastery-in-kiev/
No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on sanctions.
Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Europe and Nazism.
Belgium has adopted a ‘Holocaust denial law’ that bans any public Holocaust denials. Specifically, the law makes it illegal to publicly ‘deny, play down, justify or approve of the genocide committed by the German National Socialist regime during the Second World War’.
A memorial called "Monument to Freedom" is planned to be installed by the Latvian sculptor Kristaps Gulbis in the Belgian commune Zedelgem. Gulbis stated that his monument will commemorate the Latvian soldiers who were POWs in the Zedelgem camp during the winter of 1945/46. Latvian POWs in Zedelgem were released during 1946.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the West as Russophobic and Nazi. euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=Russophobia&disinfo_issue=&date=, euvsdisinfo.eu/the-russophobia-myth-appealing-to-the-lowest-feelings/, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77101&date=
- There was in fact a clear record of strong cooperation between the EU and Russia, dating back to 1994, when the two sides negotiated a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Russia was identified as a strategic partner for the EU, and was the only country with which the EU held summits not once, but twice a year. A new EU-Russia agreement was being negotiated up until 2014, at which point talks were unfortunately suspended due to Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Negotiations were also in train on visa facilitation. There was also cooperation between the EU and Russia on a number of foreign policy issues, some of which continues to this day. The EU and its Member States have maintained a clear policy of reaching out to Russian society and youth, mainly through the Erasmus+ student exchange programme and other people to people contacts.
- NATO consistently worked hard to build a cooperative relationship with Russia since the early 1990s, through the Partnership for Peace and creation of a NATO-Russia Council, and specific cooperation in the Western Balkans on and issues like counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism. In fact, as NATO points out, no other NATO partner has been offered a comparable relationship, nor a similarly comprehensive institutional framework: http://bit.ly/2e0TZnG.
- In 1997, Russia was invited to join the G7 group of major advanced economies in the world, thus forming the G8. (At the time, Russia ranked 14th to 17th in the list of countries according to GDP: http://bit.ly/2dWb51l; http://bit.ly/2ejhOpw; http://bit.ly/2dqu4jQ). In 2006, President Putin hosted the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg. Russia's membership of the G8 was suspended in 2014 because of its illegal annexation of Crimea.
- Russia joined the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organisation, in 1996.
Conspiracy theory. No evidence given.
No evidence given.
On election day in 2014 more than 1,200 observers from 49 countries were reporting across Ukraine.
International Election Observation Mission (
No evidence given.
Neither the EU or US have ever called Russia a criminal regime as well as never prohibited Russian language anywhere or persecuted the Russian Orthodox Church.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Skripals' poisoning.
Two Novichok suspects claimed they were visiting Salisbury Cathedral but, according to the street cameras, they went two miles along the wrong route that is opposite to this place and leads to the house of Skripal.
Bellingcat and the Insider can confirm definitively that both “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov” are active GRU officers. This conclusion is based both on objective data and on discussions with confidential Russian sources familiar with the identity of either one of the two persons.
Bellingcat can confirm the authenticity of the leaked passport file of “Boshirov”, and that it contains all three markings that helped identify “Petrov” as a security-service asset: “Top Secret” annotations, a blank biographical page referring to a secret attached letter, a “do not provide information” stamp, and issuing authority unit 777001, exclusively used for state VIPs and intelligence officers. In addition, “Boshirov” also has no recorded history prior to the issuance of his domestic ID passport in 2010 (2009 in “Petrov”’s case). See further debunking by the Bellingcat.
Repeating recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about war in Ukraine. euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77110&date=
It was Russia that provoked a war in Ukraine, and it is not a civil war. For further debunking see euvsdisinfo.eu/report/russian-spring-civil-war-was-unleashed-in-east-of-ukraine-by-little-nazis-in-kyiv-after-a-coup/
No evidence of any kind of threat of civil war in Latvia.
Background on Ukraine:https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/crimea-is-a-result-of-the-ban-on-the-russian-language/
Prior to the May 2014 Presidential elections, acting President Turchynov refused to sign legislation repealing the language law of 2012, which allows the use of the Russian language for official purposes at regional level.
Human rights missions that travelled to Ukraine in 2014 did not find evidence that the Russian minority would have been in danger:
1. The Advisory Committee’s Ad hoc Report on the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, adopted on 1 April 2014, Council of Europe;
2. Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 15 June 2014;
3. Statement by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on her Recent Visit to Ukraine, 4 April 2014
Russia is not conducting "any kind of war" against Ukraine. Ukraine has lost its sovereignty, it is a "colony or protectorate of the US. Russia has never sent any troops to Ukraine to take part in military operations.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation attempting to show that Ukraine is behind the aggression, while in fact it was Russia that provoked and maintains the war in Ukraine. See further debunk here: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/russian-spring-civil-war-was-unleashed-in-east-of-ukraine-by-little-nazis-in-kyiv-after-a-coup/
Multiple evidence that Russian armed forces conduct a war in Ukraine https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/the-osce-the-pentagon-nato-headquarters-and-the-council-of-europe-do-not-recognize-the-facts-of-russias-aggression-against-ukraine-primarily-the-intrusion-of-russian-tanks-and-paratroopers-into-do/
Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation state, with its own flag, nationality, language etc.
The Russian-speakers are citizens of Ukraine. According to polls by the Razumkov Center, in 2017 68 percent of Ukrainians said Ukrainian was their native language, 14 percent consider Russian to be their native language, and 17 percent said they were native speakers of both Ukrainian and Russian. https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/honest-history-episode-2-ukrainians-speak-russian-language-kremlin-uses-stoke-conflict-ukraine.html
According to the Ukraine's presidential press office, Marina Poroshenko "visited the largest treasury of Ukrainian identity in the United States - Ukrainian Museum and Library in Stamford". She said that "being here one feels that this cultural institution was created and is supported by people who love Ukraine, respect its people and value Ukrainian history and art".
Marina Poroshenko did not say that the "true Ukrainian identity" is to be found only in the US.
Further debunk by Stop Fake.
No evidence given. Ukraine's law (moratorium) prohibiting the sale and purchase of land by foreigners has been extended several times and currently is valid till 1 January 2019.
In fact, the land reform and lifting of the moratorium on land sales in Ukraine have been withdrawn from the IMF Memorandum in 2017, and are not a mandatory requirement for the provision of the next tranche of funding.
Further debunk by Stop Fake.
In fact, Ukraine agreed to take delivery of two U.S. Island-class patrol boats as free military aid from the United States. The US Excess Defense Articles Program states that this type of equipment may be offered "at reduced or no cost to eligible foreign recipients".
According to Taras Chmut, the head of the Ukrainian Military Center, "the Ukrainian Navy can use these boats for another 10-15 years. Such conclusions were made by Ukrainian seamen-specialists who went to study technique in America". Ukraine is expected to invest $10 million in redeploying the cutters to its shores and making them operational in its Naval Forces.
This is a recurring narrative about allegedly defective equipment provided by the US: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/us-sells-ukraine-defective-javelins/
Further debunk by Stop Fake.
Regnum news agency
Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Ukrainian aggression and intimidation. No evidence given.
Since 2014, the Ukrainian government has required pensioners from separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk to register as internally displaced in government-controlled areas of Ukraine to receive pensions and other entitlements. According to Andriy Reva, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, the number of settlers from the occupied territories receiving pensions has increased by 80,000 over the past year.
In fact, PACE officially recognized occupied areas in Donbas as "effectively controlled" by Russia.
Further debunk by Stop Fake.
In fact, Russia's investigative committee opened a criminal case under the article on extremism against a doctor from Khabarovsk, who “liked” a picture condemning the participation of Russians in the war in eastern Ukraine. The man claimed to have liked the image by accident.
Further debunk by The Insider.
In accordance with 2016 Eurostat data, the EU is the most important trade partner of Georgia with 30% share in its overall trade (27% in total export and 31% imports). The EU provides over €100 million in assistance to Georgia annually. https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/49070/Georgia%20and%20the%20EU
According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, nearly a half - 48% - of the foreign direct investments made in Georgia in the last 20 years (1997-2017) falls on the United States and the EU member countries.
Further debunk by Mythdetector.
The American Special Services are behind the Constantinople Patriarchate and they prepare a big rift in the Orthodox world.
Recurring conspiracy theory on Western secret services, no evidence given. https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77121&date=
Repeating recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about war in Ukraine.
It was Russia that provoked a war in Ukraine, see further debunk here: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/kyiv-is-moving-from-a-civil-war-to-a-terrorist-war-crimea-was-used-by-isis-members-as-a-hub/
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf.
No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that the US is building biological laboratories in the Caucasus region.
The Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL), the so called Lugar Laboratory was opened in 2011 under the Framework Agreement signed in 1997 and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise Related to the Development of Biological Weapons signed between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Georgian Defense Ministry in 2002. The United States provided a total of USD 350 million for the construction and technical equipment of the laboratory. In 2013 the laboratory moved to subordination of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) and from 2018 the Government of Georgia will assume responsibility for full funding and operation of the Lugar center and laboratory network. Further debunking by Myth Detector.
The article offers no evidence for the claim. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation attempting to link Ukraine and the Baltic countries with Nazism. https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77101&date=
The Nazi ideology and the EU are based on opposite values and principles. For further debunking see here https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/the-eu-is-a-nazi-project-the-plan-to-form-the-eu-was-created-within-nazi-germany/
According to the article, there are two possible goals by introducing this state of emergency: there are separatists in Transcarpathia that Kyiv had kept secret before; or they are trying to save Petro Poroshenko's presidency by making it impossible to hold elections in the whole country.
Additionally, a local Ukrainian reporter shot a video of Ukrainian military units going from Lviv to Transcarpathia.
There is no proof that Ukraine wants to introduce a state of emergency anywhere in the country, and nothing suggests that there are either separatists in Transcarpathia or the administration wants to avoid elections.