By: Umme Kulsum
May 5 2023
A 2022 fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Defense doesn't mention any bioweapons programs at U.S.-funded labs in Ukraine.
Referencing a fact sheet published by the U.S. government in July 2022, a Facebook post has claimed that the Pentagon has acknowledged the existence of 46 U.S. military-funded biolabs in Ukraine. Following the Pentagon's release of the fact sheet in 2022, the claim gained widespread attention on social media last year. The narrative has reappeared in 2023, with assertions made by Russian officials and far-right American media sites.
However, the narrative has been misinterpreted. The fact sheet contains information about 46 Ukrainian-owned laboratories, medical facilities, and diagnostic centers that have obtained support from the U.S.
The U.S. has collaborated with the international community to lessen nuclear, chemical, and biological risks in Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Many social media users have misconstrued the information presented in the document to falsely claim that the U.S. Department of Defense's support is being used to develop biological weapons in Ukraine. The fact sheet clearly mentions that "Ukraine has no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons programs."
According to U.S. government documents, since 2005, through the Pentagon's Biological Threat Reduction Programme (BTRP), the United States has collaborated with Ukraine to support peaceful and safe biological detection, diagnostic capabilities, and to reduce the threats posed by pathogens. A fact sheet from March 2022 stated that the U.S., through the BTRP, has invested approximately $200 million in Ukraine, which supports 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and diagnostic sites. These 46 labs are primarily concerned with disease surveillance and public health, not with the development or research of bioweapons. Moreover, the laboratories are owned and operated by the government of Ukraine. There is no mention of the U.S. funding any bioweapons facilities in Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, conspiracy theories have increased regarding alleged biological weapons produced in laboratories supposedly funded by the U.S. in Ukraine. Logically Facts has previously debunked false claims on alleged biolabs in Ukraine that were falsely linked to the origins of a monkeypox outbreak in 2022.
The U.S. has worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for human and animal health. There are no biological weapon programs being conducted by the U.S. in Ukraine. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.