To: Editors of RIA Novosti, Gazeta.ru, Russia Today, Fontanka, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and other media outlets spreading deliberately false information about biological weapons allegedly found in Ukraine.
From: biologists, graduates of the Russian universities.
Stop the false propaganda based on misinformation and hatred.
As of March 6, many Russian media outlets, based on a statement by Igor Konashenkov, official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defense, reported that Ukraine had allegedly urgently eliminated traces of a Pentagon-funded biological weapons program. Media reports said that the relevant laboratories had seized documentation of the emergency destruction of particularly dangerous pathogens: the causative agents of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases on 24 February. Additionally, it was alleged that thousands of "Slavic biological samples" had been removed from Ukrainian territory and that many special laboratories had been operating in Ukraine itself to study "the DNA of Slavs in order to create biological weapons that would have an effect on them”.
It is the direct duty of an elementary decent journalist to become familiar with the documentation accompanying the statements and, if necessary, to consult an expert. This has not been done. In this case, the "evidence" offered by the media is obviously false. It does not imply any development of biological weapons or even the use of particularly dangerous pathogens in the laboratories. The list of destroyed strains published by RIA Novosti and other Russian media outlets contains not a single particularly dangerous strain. The list contains only strains common to microbiological and even more so to epidemiological laboratories. General Konashenkov's statement about the presence of "plague, anthrax, tularemia and cholera" strains documented in the material presented is pure fiction. It should be noted that even the presence of such strains in a laboratory dealing with especially dangerous infections would also not be evidence of development of biological weapons by Ukraine. In addition, it should be noted that the absolutely wild idea of the existence of special "DNA of the Slavs, against whom special biological weapons were to be used", as propagated by the Russian media, is nonsense for anyone familiar with the school biology course. Such statements go back to the German Nazi propaganda with their cult of the "Aryan superior race".
We demand that the false, absolutely groundless and hatred-inciting statements about allegedly found evidence of the development of biological weapons in Ukrainian laboratories be stopped. We demand the publication of a refutation of the false information.
Biologists, graduates of Russian universities.