Two days after former President Trump asked the Kremlin for dirt on the Bidens, the Russian government held a briefing that spread a bizarre conspiracy theory about the Bidens.
It’s a different topic than what Trump asked for, but one that’s far more in line with the war that Russia may be losing in Ukraine.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Thursday held a briefing that largely picked up the thread from an earlier, bird-related Ukraine biolab conspiracy theory that it had spread. Now, Russian officials claimed, not only were birds, Ukraine, and communicable disease involved, but so was Hunter Biden.
Russian officials published slides showing what they claimed to be an email chain involving the younger Biden
Picking up on the narrative that Russia began to manufacture last month of supposed biolaboratories in Ukraine meant to spread harmful agents via migratory birds, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that Hunter Biden was involved.
The Russians trotted out Igor Kirillov, head of radiation, chemical, and biological defense for Russia’s armed forces, to elaborate.
“The content of the messages shows that Hunter Biden played an important role in creating the financial possibility to conduct work with pathogens on Ukrainian territory,” adding that the younger Biden sought investments for the bird scheme.
In some ways, this is all the latest iteration of events that have repeated themselves since 2016, when Trump asked Russia to find “30,000 emails that are missing” from Hillary Clinton’s server. Within a day of that statement, federal prosecutors have said, Russian hackers targeted the candidate’s accounts.
In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Trump demanded that Ukraine manufacture dirt on the Bidens to help with his re-election effort. That effort led to Trump’s first impeachment, but not before a host of Russia-aligned Ukrainians volunteered various items that included supposed tapes of calls between Biden and Ukrainian officials during the Obama years. U.S. officials have since described the response as part of a Russian propaganda campaign.
Trump told John Solomon, a former AP reporter who relayed debunked allegations of Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine during the first impeachment, that he wanted Russia to release information about Hunter Biden’s supposed ties to the Russian oligarch wife of a former mayor of Moscow.
“How is it that the mayor of Moscow, his wife gave the Biden family three and a half million dollars?” Trump said. “I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer. I’m sure he knows.”
Russia did not address that, shifting the focus away from the finances of the city of Moscow to Ukraine.
At the briefing, Kirillov did not return directly to the well-trodden territory of allegations that the biolabs were being used to create bird-vectored pathogens.
Rather, he stayed in more familiar waters.
“The published message exchange demonstrates how the true aims of the Pentagon in Ukraine are far from scientific,” he said, adding that one message shows a Pentagon subcontractor discussing how work in Ukraine was directed at guaranteeing “the cultural and economic independence of Ukraine from Russia.”
When the biolab theory first emerged last month, it stoked fears that Russia may have been laying the groundwork for a chemical or biological weapons attack on Ukraine. NATO officials briefed reporters to that effect, saying that the propaganda effort had raised concerns that such an attack might have been forthcoming.
Now, however, it looks like something far more familiar.