Meet the Detroit-born Ukrainian scientist at the crossroads of Russia’s biological “military laboratories” disinformation campaign

Kiev – Black tea in a black kitchen. It’s not normal, but it’s another small sacrifice that Ulana and Marko Suprun can make to protect themselves from Russian shooting in their Kiev home.

The goal on her head is bigger than most, but as Marko told CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay, as “you’ll die for something, you might as well stand doing it.”

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Ulana and Marko Suprun speak to CBS News at their home in Kiev, Ukraine.

CBS News


A doctor born in Detroit to Ukrainian parents, Ulana was once UkraineMinister of Health. She is credited with modernizing the medical laboratories of the former Soviet republic to help the country prevent fatal outbreaks.

According to Russia’s disinformation, however, Ulana has plotted an evil conspiracy cause one instead.

Russia, Ulana told CBS News, wanted the world to believe “that I was a CIA agent who came here specifically to design biolabs, make biological weapons and experiment on Ukrainians.”

Vladimir Putin’s regime has used conspiracy theory as a deadly weapon. Putin and his top aides have been claiming for weeks that U.S. “military laboratories” just across Russia’s border with Ukraine were one reason they needed to invade.


Within the Russian biological weapons collusion theory

03:20

CBS News was released exclusive access to one of the laboratories in the cross of the lie of Russia. It was built to detect and diagnose some of the world’s most contagious diseases, such as cholera and anthrax.

However, the government reference laboratory in Kiev was not built for work on biological or other weapons, said its head of research Natalia Vidayko Livesay.

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CBS News’s Chris Livesay leads the Ukraine Reference Laboratory in Kiev Natalia Vidayko, chief researcher of the lab.

CBS News


They are testing patients for diseases, and all pathogen samples from their laboratory and all others from Ukraine were destroyed shortly after Russia’s invasions – just to prevent possible outbreaks.

But that has not stopped Moscow from launching a full-scale attack on Ulana and Marko, with social media posts accusing them of Nazi links.


Russian offensive leaves eastern Ukraine in ruins

02:22

“My first reaction was, ‘Holy crap, like, they’re coming after us,'” Marko told CBS News.

And not just on social media. The attacks were also thrown off the stage at briefings by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

De Pentagon has warned that Russian troops could lay the groundwork for a “false flag” attack, which would show that they were using their own biological weapons, but blaming Ukraine.


Austin promises “significant response” if Russia uses chemically or biologically in Ukraine

08:52

“The disinformation is causing people to die. It is not just disinformation,” Ulana told Livesay. “It actually has consequences in real life.”

“You are aware of the fear,” Marko said, describing the fear in which the couple now live. “You keep cuddling a little longer.”

“You do not want to lose each other,” Ulana added.

But the stress and worry is a price the couple said they were willing to pay, as were so many other Ukrainian victims of Russia’s information war.

The Kremlin now claims to have found US training materials in Ukrainian laboratories on how to arm smallpox. It is yet another claim, presented without any evidence, that Russia is using to justify its bloody war against its neighbor.


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