In a sign that Putin’s propaganda machine is getting increasingly desperate, Russian state media declared yesterday that “secret experiments” funded by the US are turning Ukrainian troops into “monsters”. This echoes Putin’s efforts to try and portray Ukraine as a Nazi state, mirroring the inhumane experiments performed by Hitler’s regime.
According to Russian state media outlet Kommersant, vice-speakers of Russia’s Federation Council and the State Duma Konstantin Kosachev and Irina Yarovaya made the outlandish claim after a meeting of a parliamentary commission created in March to probe the activities of American biological laboratories on Ukrainian territory.
Speaking as co-chairs of the commission, Mr Kosachev and Ms Yarovaya said blood analysis of Ukrainian troops showed they had been turned into “the most cruel monsters” by “secret experiments”.
Mr Kosachev told reporters experiments were conducted on Ukrainian soldiers, as well as “extremely dangerous diseases”.
He added these diseases “under certain circumstances could be distributed for military purposes”.
The Russian diplomat also alleged blood samples from captured Ukrainian servicemen showed that “for a number of diseases, including those atypical for Ukrainian territory, the content of the relevant substances is several times higher than the permissible norms.”
These claims follow earlier efforts by Russian media to claim that Ukraine is developing biological weapons – again with US funding. Russia’s defence ministry earlier claimed to have evidence Ukraine and the US had collaborated to develop biological weapons.
Major General Igor Konashenkov alleged that pathogens for deadly diseases such as the plague, anthrax and cholera were being created to be used for biological warfare in Ukrainian laboratories funded by the US Department of Defense (DOD).
According to fact-checking website Snopes, Russia has been pushing this false claim since 2018. Since 1991, the DOD and Ukrainian Ministry of Health have been part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
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This program, formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, aims to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction. On Saturday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Ukrainians to be wary of Russian propaganda, disinformation and the “media terror” surrounding the Russian invasion, adding that Russian officials are creating “horror stories”.
Mr Zelensky said: “This sometimes takes on simply unhealthy forms when social networks and websites deliberately stuff fake information from Russia, the purpose of which is only one—to add media terror to the missile and artillery terror against our country.
“It is obvious that any missiles and artillery of Russia will not succeed in breaking our unity and knocking us off our path.
“And it should be equally obvious that Ukrainian unity cannot be broken by lies or intimidation, fake information or conspiracy theories.”