US experiments ‘turning Ukraine troops into monsters’

New Delhi: Blood samples from captured Ukrainian soldiers showed they were biologically modified and turned into “cruel samples” under “secret experiments” – this one is a claim by two Russian lawmakers, Konstantin Kosachev and Irina Yarovaya, this week.

Kosachev was also quoted by the Russian daily Kommersant that “on the territory of Ukraine, experiments were conducted and experiments were conducted on extremely dangerous diseases, which under certain conditions could spread for military purposes”.

Kosachev is a member of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian Federal Assembly. As a former diplomat, he claimed that these “experiments” were commissioned by the US government.

This claim, the latest of Russia’s disinformation stable, comes five months into a war Moscow assumed would be a swift invasion.

Last month, Roman Osadchuk, a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, noted that the growing misinformation surrounding the war is trying to dehumanize Ukrainians and falls into an already familiar pattern of false stories coming out of Moscow — a prime example. the story of “de-nazification” cited by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a justification for sending troops to Ukraine.

Also read: What is Kaliningrad? Unique Russian territory that has fueled tensions between Moscow and the EU

‘Holy war against LGBTQ+, antichrist’

In recent weeks, Russian TV presenters and the guests featured on their shows have tried to spread various conspiracy theories about the war in Ukraine.

For example, Russian professor Vladimir Avatkov, guest on state television Russia-1, said last week that Moscow is waging a war against “the darkness of the West” and for the “salvation of all humanity”.

In another case, Apti Alaudinov – commander of Chechen forces fighting for Russia – described the invasion as a “holy war” against “LGBTQ+ persons” and the “Antichrist”.

“We are not under the banner of LGBT[Q+ and as long as he [Putin] lives, we will not be under those flags,” Alaudinov said on Russia-1adding, “We are facing the war against the army of the devil… the army of the antichrist.”

Stationed in the Chechen Republic, which is part of the Russian Federation, Alaudinov faces US sanctions for alleged human rights violations. His police force has been accused of torturing and incarcerating LGBTQ+ individuals.

Both the professor and the military commander were invited to speak on a show hosted by Olga Skabeyeva, a TV host with a reputation for being a Kremlin spokesperson.

She has been dubbed the “iron doll of Putin TV” and famously blamed Ukrainian troops for the March massacre in Bucha. Skabeyeva also has claimed that the Russians were in the midst of “World War III”.

Other TV presenters such as Vladimir Solovyov, meanwhile, have casually joked on live TV about an “ethnic cleansing” in Ukraine.

“When a doctor is deworming a cat, it is a special operation for the doctor. To the worms it is a war and to the cat it is a cleansing.” Solovyov was quoted as saying: Tuesday.

‘Babushka Z’

Anya Ivanova, an elderly Ukrainian woman, became an icon of Russian propaganda after a video of her waving the Soviet flag went viral earlier this year.

The video shows her walking up to Ukrainian soldiers who offer her food, but then take the flag from her and stamp it. Angry, the woman returns their food.

On May 5, Russian officials unveiled a statue of Ivanova, nicknamed “Babushka Z,” in the Ukrainian coastal city of Mariupol.

While “Babushka” means “grandmother” in Russian, the “Z” is a reference to the symbol spotted on Russian military vehicles deployed in Ukraine.

However, after receiving worldwide media attention, Ivanoka said in May that her actions were misunderstood, adding: “We would be better off without this war”.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

Also read: ‘Born of Personal Trauma’: Why This Polish Novel Speaks to War-torn Ukraine

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