2:37 PM ET, March 14, 2023
The US State Department is releasing a new report outlining Russian misinformation about US and Ukrainian biological weapons
From CNN’s Jennifer Hansler
The U.S. State Department’s Center for Global Engagement released a new report Tuesday that outlines Russia’s efforts to spread disinformation about U.S. and Ukrainian biological weapons.
The eight-page report does not appear to present new information about the disinformation effort, but rather provides a comprehensive overview of widespread efforts on the matter, from the days of the Soviet Union to the current war in Ukraine.
The statement comes a day after a senior State Department official said that Russia and China “Clearly” aligned themselves Propaganda and disinformation about the war in Ukraine and America and the West have not invested enough in countering such disinformation for years.
“Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, has made false claims about biological weapons for decades in an effort to create distrust in peaceful global efforts to address biological threats and public health institutions,” Tuesday’s report noted.
“Since the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem has increased the volume and intensity of disinformation about biological weapons in a failed attempt to undermine international support for Ukraine, to divert attention from its occupation of Ukraine, and to justify its unjustifiable war,” it said.
“Russia has a history of blaming others for what it does, and its recent biological weapons claims regarding Ukraine are no different. The United States assesses that Russia continues to maintain an offensive biological weapons program in violation of its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention,” the report added.
The report cited several examples of disinformation Russia has released since the war began, including “one notable false claim that the United States worked with Ukraine to transport migratory birds, mosquitoes and even bats. Biological weapons into Russia,” it added, “absurd.”
The report described the false claims as being spread by “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem, namely Kremlin-funded media and Russian intelligence-linked websites” and by “so-called” experts” speaking to the Russian press.
It also highlighted Russia’s parliamentary committee investigating what it alleges were US biological laboratories in Ukraine, which the report said were spreading disinformation about biological weapons.