US media is reporting that Russia continues to spread the conspiracy theory that the United States secretly manufactured biological weapons in Ukraine. The report says the Kremlin recently commanded the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), an international forum in Geneva, to air its unsupported assertions again. According to a New York Times report:
September 4, 2022 The United States secretly manufactured biological weapons in Ukraine. It trained birds to carry pathogens into Russia. It created Covid-19. It operated laboratories in Nigeria that engineered this year’s outbreak of monkeypox. Of the many falsehoods that the Kremlin has spread since the war in Ukraine began more than six months ago, some of the most outlandish and yet enduring have been those accusing the United States of operating clandestine biological research programs to wreak havoc around the globe. The United States and others have dismissed the accusations as preposterous, and Russia has offered no proof. Yet the claims continue to circulate. Backed at times by China’s diplomats and state media, they have ebbed and flowed in international news reports, fueling conspiracy theories that linger online. In Geneva this week, Russia has commanded an international forum to air its unsupported assertions again. The Biological Weapons Convention, the international treaty that since 1975 has barred the development and use of weapons made of biological toxins or pathogens, gives member nations the authority to request a formal hearing of violations, and Russia has invoked the first one in a quarter-century. “This is the military biological Pandora’s box, which the United States has opened and filled more than once,” Irina A. Yarovaya, the deputy chair of Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, said last month. She is leading a parliamentary committee that was formed to “investigate” American support for biological research laboratories in Ukraine and elsewhere.
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The report notes that Russia’s accusations have appeared in news reports in many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, which have become diplomatic battlegrounds between the United States, Russia, and China.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively reported on Russian claims that the United States was developing biological weapons in a network of labs in Ukraine. These claims were copy-pasted almost verbatim from years of similar fake stories that Kremlin trolls have used to try and discredit legitimate biological research in Georgia and Kazakhstan. This conspiracy theory has been echoed by Chinese officials and amplified by QAnon conspiracy theorists and conservative American political figures, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump Jr.