Kyiv — From cholera to anthrax,The Virology Reference Laboratory in Kyiv houses some of the most contagious diseases known to mankind. The institute’s principal investigator, Dr. Natalia Vidayko guided us through a maze of white walls and stainless steel equipment. Researchers in lab coats hovered over a Petri dish containing genetic samples from the disease sent for analysis.
If you ask the Kremlin, the vials and Bunsen burners in the facilities of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health are all part of an evil conspiracy.
On February 27, three days after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine,One reason they did so was that the United States was “filling Ukraine with biological laboratories, possibly used to study how to destroy Russians at the genetic level.”
Despite the lack of evidence, The claim went viral It eventually went up on social media to Fox News and host Tucker Carlson asked for an answer. “What exactly were they doing in this secret Ukrainian biological laboratory?” he asked.
This is why they brought us to the institute in Kyiv. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov It was called “The Institute of Biological Warfare.”
But when we got to the entrance, the only guard we saw was an old German Shepherd named Rambo. He blessed us for a pleasant walk outside the kennel, then came back inside.
We were told that we were the first journalists allowed inside after the Russian invasion. However, the facility is regularly inspected by international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Vidayko showed us state-of-the-art equipment for isolating dangerous pathogens. “It’s to test patients for disease,” she said, not making weapons.
But that changed when Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, when the bombardment began, she said.
“They bombed a building in the immediate vicinity,” the scientist told CBS News.
From that day on, the Ukrainian government ordered the lab and others to destroy all particularly dangerous strains, she said.
“The biohazard is so high that if the building was attacked, dangerous pathogens could be released into the environment,” she said.
She took me to the machine the technicians use to kill the disease called the autoclave.
“They were completely destroyed,” she repeated.
But the viral conspiracy theories did not die with them.
“This crazy fake,” she lamented to CBS News. “No proof, bla bla bla.”
Still, polls show that 26% of Americans believe Russia’s unsubstantiated claims, including some such as Republican Congressman Marjorie Taylor Green. introduced a bill Ban U.S. funding of “biological weapons” in Ukraine in March.
Dr. Vidayko said she and her colleagues were concerned that she and her colleagues could be targeted because so many people had bought the Kremlin’s line.
The Pentagon has warned that Russia could use its laboratories and other similar institutions in so-called “false flags” attacks, in which the Russian military uses its own biological strikes to accuse Ukraine.
“When we first heard these lies about bioweapons, we thought it was funny,” Vidayko said. “But we don’t laugh anymore.”