The CCP uses Russian stories of Americans creating viruses in Ukraine to answer new authoritative claims that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese lab.
by Massimo Introvigne
In the last 48 hours, an avalanche of Russian and Chinese propaganda has hit social media and some electronic and print media where fellow travelers, if not useful idiots, work on behalf of Putin and Xi Jinping. The propaganda repeats obsessively that Russian troops have found evidence that in Ukraine there are laboratories controlled by the U.S. military manufacturing deadly viruses.
China immediately broadcasted this claim at the highest level, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The spokesperson stopped short of claiming that the COVID-19 virus has been created by the Americans in Ukraine, while suggesting again it may have been produced in the Fort Detrick laboratory in Maryland. CCP-connected social media accounts are not so shy, and openly accuse the U.S. of having created the COVID-19 virus in Ukraine.
There is a prehistory of this campaign some outside Italy may have missed. On March 7, a full page of Italy’s most authoritative newspaper, Corriere della Sera, published an interview with Giorgio Palù, a professor of virology and microbiology at the University of Padova and the president of AIFA, Italy’s National Pharmaceutical Authority.
Palù, who is also the former president of the European Society for Virology, explained that a highly technical article on new discoveries about the COVID-19 virus he has co-authored and just published in the journal Frontiers in Virology in fact means that the theory that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory has now been greatly reinforced. Indeed, Palù claimed that the possibility that the virus’ features developed naturally are “one in a trillion.”
Of course, being a scientist, Palù called for further investigation in China to corroborate the theory, and other scientists disagreed with him. However, “Corriere della Sera” explained what had just happened to its readers in non-academic terms writing that “the idea that the virus escaped from a laboratory [in Wuhan, as the article later specifies] due to an accident has now become more solid.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, on the same day different Chinese spokespersons both attacked the study co-authored by the president of Italy’s National Pharmaceutical Authority and endorsed the Russian claims about the Ukrainian laboratories. Indeed, the campaign in China was so well-organized that in a few hours “COVID-19 and Ukrainian laboratories” emerged as the main topic in Chinese social media Weibo and WeChat.
What is true about U.S.-supported laboratories in Ukraine? Almost nothing. In 2005, the United States entered into an agreement with Ukraine to support the modernization of its system of disease prevention and control, following the model of the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) we all became familiar with during the COVID-19 pandemic. The laboratories engaged in disease research and prevention are managed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, not the United States and certainly not by the U.S. Military.
The Russian and Chinese claim that they are U.S. military facilities, and that they are engaged in preparing biological weapons, has been classified as fake news by France Presse and other quality media.
What is unfortunately true is that Russia has bombed some of these centers, which were playing a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19 in Ukraine, just as they have bombed hospitals and other health facilities.