March 31, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has captured countless headlines in connection with his nation’s violent attack on Ukraine. But at least one circulating on social media credits him with violent acts that appear to be fabricated.

“Putin Beheads Bioweapon Engineers in Ukraine,” read the March 23 headline on Real Raw News, a blog site known for promoting wild claims about politicians and the military. According to the story, Putin called former President Donald Trump and told him that he had “ordered the execution of 12 international bioweapon engineers whom Russian forces had captured in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.”

The blog, which cites an unnamed Mar-A-Lago source for its story, claims Trump responded approvingly to the executions, and said to Putin, “I think you have the right idea.”

The post was shared across Facebook, and it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

There are no reports of Putin ordering the beheading of bioweapon engineers in Ukraine, and Liz Harrington, spokeswoman for Trump, told PolitiFact the claim is false.

There is no evidence of bioweapon laboratories in Ukraine. There are public health labs in the country that study a number of pathogens and viruses, and we’ve reported that these kinds of labs exist in almost every country. The labs in Ukraine have nothing to do with biological warfare, public health experts have told us. 

PolitiFact reported that Real Raw News has a history of publishing fabricated stories of politicians being arrested or executed by the military.

There’s no evidence that Putin executed bioweapon engineers and called Trump to talk about it. We rate this Pants on Fire!

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Gabrielle Settles is a reporter covering misinformation for PolitiFact. Previously, she was a staff writer for The Weekly Challenger and staff member and reporter for…
Gabrielle Settles

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