How Russian ‘disinformation’ could threaten our biosecurity

biological
Image credit: US Navy

In a series of increasingly confrontational statements, Russia has suggested that the Pentagon is establishing a chain of bio-weapons labs on its borders. At the heart of the accusations is the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in the Republic of Georgia.

The Russian charges that the Lugar Center and other biological labs in the Caucasus and Central Asia are making banned bioweapons are unfounded. Last week a group of international experts, including this author, visited the Lugar Center by invitation of the Georgian government. We were given access to all areas of the site, examined relevant documentation, and interviewed staff, and concluded that the Center demonstrates significant transparency.

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The Russian allegations appear to be part of a disinformation campaign that has grown in response to scrutiny of Moscow for using and enabling the use of chemical weapons.

Related article:  Russia strikes deal to accelerate development of 30 gene-edited crops, animals by 2027

False claims about biological weapons in particular, though, create an additional grave danger: They erode the international norm against using them, making countries more likely to do so. While it is easy to dismiss the Russian messaging as nonsense, as the US Embassy in Georgia has done, it is important to actively counter the effect it will likely have on the norm against using biological weapons.

Read full, original post: The Russian disinformation attack that poses a biological danger

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