Tulsi Gabbard is the latest to push a Russian-backed plot over US-backed bio-labs in Ukraine

Topline

Former presidential candidate and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard shared false information about U.S. involvement in Ukrainian bio-labs on Sunday, lending credence to an unfounded Russian-backed conspiracy theory that officials say United States, could serve as justification for Russia’s use of biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.

Highlights

In two minutes video Posted to his Twitter on Sunday morning, Gabbard said there were 25-30 US-funded bio labs in Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire in the labs as they could be spreading dangerous pathogens .

Gabbard’s concern about the spread of pathogens is backed by facts – the World Health Organization called on Ukraine to destroy high-risk pathogens this week to prevent the spread of disease if a lab is attacked – but there is no evidence that the United States supports biological laboratories in Ukraine and the United States has always denied doing so.

Gabbard’s comments notably lend apparent credibility to a particularly dangerous Russian-backed conspiracy theory.

This week, Russia spread a plot about US development of biological and chemical weapons in Ukrainian labs, a false claim that the White House and NATO say could justify a Russian attack.

The theory became popular on Alex Jones’ InfoWars platform and social media several weeks ago, and has since been co-opted by Russian and Chinese state media.

crucial quote

“As we have always said, Russia invents false pretenses to try to justify its own horrible actions in Ukraine. The United States does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.

Surprising fact

Elena Branson, indicted by US authorities on Tuesday for allegedly acting as a Russian agent, made donations to only one US politician, according to The Daily Beast election documents: Gabbard.

Tangent

The Kremlin sent a memo to Russian state-run media calling on the media to use as many images of Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson sharing his controversial positions supporting Russia and criticizing the United States and NATO as possible, According to documents from the Russian government agency obtained by Mother Jones and published on Sunday. Besides former President Donald Trump, Carlson and Gabbard are perhaps the two most prominent Russian sympathizers in the United States.

Further reading

How Russia planted a US bioweapons conspiracy theory in Ukraine (Forbes)

Leaked Kremlin memo to Russian media: It is ‘essential’ to introduce Tucker Carlson (Mother Jones)

Accused Russian Agent Gave Politician: Tulsi Gabbard (Daily Beast)

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