Revived Russian Disinformation Narrative on Biological weapon laboratories in Ukraine

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The story about “secret American bio-laboratories in Ukraine” is a Russian propaganda myth. For this purpose, the statement of Victoria Nuland from March 2022 about the existence of biological research laboratories in Ukraine was abused. Nuland then told the US Senate that Ukraine has grounds for biological research, adding that she was concerned that Russian military forces were trying to take over the laboratories. Previously, the WHO also warned about the same issue, conveying that the laboratories in Ukraine were researching how to mitigate the threats from dangerous diseases


We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook, which states:

American host Tucker Carlson strongly criticized the existence of bio-laboratories in Ukraine.

The post shares an old article from two years ago with the following headline:

TUCKER CARLSON “SHOCKS” AMERICAN PUBLIC: What are they doing in the secret Ukrainian bio-laboratories? (VIDEO)

The article includes a video clip with Carlson’s presentation saying that bio-laboratories exist in Ukraine and that he did not believe that such places were producing a cure for leukemia, but rather bioweapons. To support this narrative, Carlson abuses the statement given by Victoria Nuland, who at the time was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs at the US State Department. Recently, Nuland announced her retirement, but the text shared in the post is from the 10th of March 2022 and is rehashed on Facebook two years later.

The article insinuates that there were secret Ukrainian bio-laboratories controlled by the US and that America was very concerned that the substances kept in the laboratories might fall into the hands of the Russian military forces. However, contrary to what was presented, these laboratories do not produce biological weapons, nor were they “secret”.

The story about ”secret American bio-laboratories in Ukraine” is a Russian propaganda myth. For this purpose, the statement given by Victoria Nuland about the existence of biological research laboratories in Ukraine and the concern that Russian forces might capture the laboratories was abused, implying that the US was cooperating with Ukraine to ensure that the biological research material does not fall into the hands of Russian forces.

World Health Organization recommended to Ukraine to destroy pathogens from the laboratories to prevent their spread and occurrence of diseases.

Biological weapons researcher and professor at King’s College London, Filippa Lentzossaid for France Press that there were no indications that these laboratories in Ukraine were being used to develop biological weapons, but that their purpose was to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

As previously covered by “Truthmeter”, this Russian conspiracy theory has been circulating since 2018.

The post we are fact-checking misinterprets the Agreement concluded between the US and Ukraine in 2005, whose purpose is to prevent biological threats, not to create them.

According to the Agreement from August 2005, the Ukrainian and the American governments agreed to cooperate ”to prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens and related expertise and to minimize potential biological threats.”

In May 2020, the Ukrainian Security Service issued an announcement calling upon politicians to stop spreading false information about the existence of foreign military biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Recently, ”fake news” about alleged activities of American military biological laboratories in Ukraine have been circulating in the media and social networks… No foreign biological laboratory operates in Ukraine. Recent statements by individual politicians are not accurate and deliberately distort the facts, states the announcement.

According to Ukrainian Security Service, the main security agency in the country, these laboratories are owned and funded by the Ukrainian government.

The American Embassy in Ukraine, through a statement published in April 2020, called these theories ”disinformation spread in certain circles in Ukraine reflecting Russian disinformation related to the strong American-Ukrainian partnership for reducing biological threats”.

There are no American military laboratories in Ukraine, said Andy Weber, member of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defence Programs, in a statement given to “PolitiFact”.

Rather, the US Department of Defence Cooperative Threat Reduction Program has provided technical support to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health since 2005 to improve public health laboratories, whose mission is analogous to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These laboratories have recently played an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19, Weber said to “PolitiFact”.

Initially, these laboratories were baselessly claimed to have created the Coronavirus, only to change the narrative now and claim that their purpose is to destroy Slav peoples through some form of biological weapon.

The Guardian has published an entire article explaining how this QAnon conspiracy theory about the laboratories in Ukraine achieved international coverage on social media and in the media.

The very core of the story is true: the Department of Defense funds biological research and laboratories in Ukraine, and elsewhere in Europe and the Caucuses, in order to surveil emerging infectious diseases and to keep secure facilities that housed a Soviet bioweapons program. But, Washington insists that it does not fund biological weapons research anywhere, much less in Ukraine – a claim backed up by a bevy of international organizations and non-proliferation advocates, report the Guardian.

The truth is that there are no US-owned biological laboratories in Ukraine, and this has been debunked on several occasions, both by global fact-checking services and by “Truthmeter“.

In 2020, the Ukrainian Security Service issued a statement stating that there were no foreign-owned biological laboratories in Ukraine, especially not military laboratories.

It should be noted that these laboratories are funded by state funds, and they are subordinate to the Ministry of Health, Ukrainian Security Service informed.

Matt Field, the editor of the Atomic Scientists Bulletin, reminded CNN that in 2018, Russia made allegations about bio-laboratories in Georgia when the case of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer who later became a British agent and was poisoned in England with his daughter was taking place.

Peter Stano, spokesperson for the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that the EU was not aware of any laboratories in Ukraine that were not in compliance with international law.

Victoria Nuland said to the US Senate that Ukraine had biological research facilities, adding that she was concerned that the Russian military forces might try to seize those laboratories. She said that the American services are cooperating with the Ukrainians to ensure that the material from those laboratories does not fall into the hands of the Russian military.

Previously, the WHO also warned about the issue, conveying that in Ukraine laboratories are researching how to mitigate threats from dangerous diseases.

The World Health Organization advised Ukrainian Ministry of Health and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent “any potential spills” said the WHO.

Due to all the above-noted facts, the post fact-checked is assessed as untrue.