The Claim and Our Verdict
- A video, containing a photo of two children, claims to show the Russian army breaking into a U.S. lab in Ukraine and rescuing thousands of children. However, the photo in the video was taken in 2018. It shows injured children being treated in a hospital in rebel-held Douma, Syria. The photo is not relevant to the Russia-Ukraine war 2022.
- The subtitles of the video claim that the source of information is from a report published April 10, 2022 by Sputnik. However, no relevant reports have been found after searching the official website of the news agency.
- In fact, the source of information is based on an article published April 6, 2022, on the website “Before It’s News,” by Judy Byington. The site calls itself an online community where anyone can join and contribute. Many articles published by this author and the website have been debunked by international fact-checking organizations and are therefore not reliable sources of information.
- Our verdict: This video was filmed in Syria in 2018. It does not show the Russian army breaking into a U.S. lab in Ukraine and rescuing thousands of children.
A video published April 15, 2022, on Facebook, claims to show the Russian army breaking into a U.S. lab in Ukraine and rescuing thousands of children. The Facebook post, written in traditional Chinese, can be partially translated as: “The evil acts behind the U.S. labs in Ukraine has been uncovered by the Russian military, who have destroyed one of the labs and rescued thousands of children. Those children have been trapped for a long time and used for biological human experiments. It is so dehumanizing!” The video contains a photo of two children with distressed faces. The simplified Chinese-language subtitles of the video can be partially translated as, “According to an article published April 10 by Sputnik, the Russian army has recently broken into a biological laboratory set up by the United States in Ukraine and rescued thousands of children from the laboratory…”
As of the publication of this report, the Facebook post had been shared 63 times, and had received six comments and 45 likes or reactions.
1: Where does the photo of children in the video come from? What incident does it show?
A reverse image search found an identical photo on the official website of European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). According to the description, the photo, taken Feb. 19, 2018, shows “injured children being treated at a hospital in rebel-held Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Syria.”
A news article published Feb. 20, 2018 by The Washington Post reads, “A surge in Syrian government airstrikes has killed at least 200 people over the past two days on the outskirts of Damascus, aid agencies said Tuesday, as the Syrian war ramps up and civilians again pay the price for the failure of international efforts to resolve it.” The article contains a photo of children identical to that in the Facebook video.
An article published March 15, 2022 by BBC says, “In March 2011, driven by dissatisfaction with the ruling government, demonstrations broke out in Syria demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad (بَشَّارُ ٱلْأَسَدِ). After being suppressed by force, the demonstrations escalated into armed conflicts between the president’s supporters and the Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces. The Syrian civil war broke out and has lasted for more than ten years.”
The photo, therefore, was taken in 2018 and showed the injured children being treated in a hospital in rebel-held Douma, Syria. It is not relevant to the Russia-Ukraine war 2022.
2. Is the information that “the Russian army has broken into the U.S. biological laboratory in Ukraine and rescued thousands of children” true?
The Chinese-language subtitles of the Facebook video can be partially translated as, “According to an article published April 10 by Sputnik, the Russian army has recently broken into a biological laboratory set up by the United States in Ukraine and rescued thousands of children from the laboratory…” HKBU Fact Check has searched the Chinese-, Russian- and English-language versions of the official website of Sputnik, however, no relevant information has been found published by the news agency in April 2022.
An article published April 6, 2022 by “Before It’s News” claims, “Tens of thousands of tortured and murdered mainly Asian children have been rescued, the mutilated bodies of thousands more children recovered by the Russian Military from US owned and run Bio-weapon Underground Tunnel DUMB Labs that ran beneath a 200-acre Biden-owned property in Ukraine.” Judy Byington is the author of this article.
According to the website’s “about us” page, “Before It’s News” is an online community of “individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world. Anyone can join and contribute.” The articles which were written by Byington and published on “Before It’s News” have been debunked by international fact-checking organizations, such as this one debunked in 2020 by Reuters, and this one debunked in 2019 by Lead Stories. Therefore, both Judy Byington and the website “Before It’s News” have repeatedly published false information and are not reliable sources.
This video was filmed in Syria in 2018. It does not show the Russian army breaking into a U.S. lab in Ukraine and rescuing thousands of children.
- Facebook, post, April 15, 2022.
- European Pressphoto Agency, “At least 85 people killed in bombing in Eastern al-Ghouta,” Feb. 19, 2018.
- The Washington Post, “At least 200 dead in Syrian government airstrikes as the war ramps up,” Feb. 20, 2018.
- BBC, “Why has the Syrian war lasted 11 years?” March 15, 2022.
- Before It’s News, “Thousands of Children Rescued, Mutilated Bodies Recovered, From Biden-Owned Ukraine Property Containing US Run Bio-Weapon Labs,” April 6, 2022.
- Before It’s News, “About us.”
- Reuters, “Fact check: 35,000 ‘malnourished’ and ‘caged’ children were not recently rescued from tunnels by U.S. military,” June 16, 2020.
- Lead Stories, “Fake News: George Soros NOT Arrested; Obama NOT Charged with Treason,” Feb. 5, 2019.