Former presidential candidate and Congress member Tulsi Gabbard shared false information Sunday about U.S. involvement in Ukraine biological laboratories Sunday, giving credence to an unfounded Russian-backed conspiracy theory the U.S. has warned could serve as justification for Russia to use biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.
In a two-minute video posted to her Twitter Sunday morning, Gabbard said there are 25 to 30 American-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire at the laboratories as they could spread dangerous pathogens.
Gabbard’s concern about the spread of pathogens is supported by fact—the World Health Organization called for Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens this week to prevent the spread of disease if a laboratory is attacked—but there’s no evidence of the U.S. supporting biological labs in Ukraine and the U.S. has consistently denied doing so.
Gabbard’s comments notably give apparent credibility to a particularly dangerous Russian-backed conspiracy theory.
This week, Russia spread a conspiracy about the U.S. developing biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine laboratories, a false claim that the White House and NATO have warned could be justification for a Russian attack of its own.
The theory became popular on Alex Jones’ InfoWars platform and on social media several weeks ago, and since was co-opted by Russian and Chinese state-run media.
“As we have said all along, Russia is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine. The United States does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price Thursday.
Elena Branson, charged Tuesday by American authorities for allegedly acting as a Russian agent, made donations to only one American politician, according to election filings by the Daily Beast: Gabbard.
The Kremlin sent a memo to state-run Russian media calling on outlets to use as much footage of Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson sharing his controversial stances supporting Russia and criticizing the U.S. and NATO as possible, according to Russian government agency documents obtained by Mother Jones and published Sunday. Aside from former President Donald Trump, Carlson and Gabbard have emerged as perhaps the two most prominent Russian sympathizers in the U.S.
How Russia Sowed A Conspiracy Theory About U.S. Bioweapons In Ukraine (Forbes)
Leaked Kremlin Memo to Russian Media: It Is “Essential” to Feature Tucker Carlson (Mother Jones)
Accused Russian Agent Gave to One Politician: Tulsi Gabbard (Daily Beast)