"Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its diplomatic missions began circulating some particularly fantastical lies. For example, the United States was using Ukrainian laboratories to develop biological weapons that would be spread by specially trained migratory birds and diseased bats. Russian military officials also made fanciful claims about U.S.-sponsored experiments turning Ukrainian fighters into "the most cruel monsters" and efforts to create so-called ethnic bio-weapons targeting ethnic Slavs such as Russians.
It's tempting to write off such claims as cartoonish propaganda. But Russia is also making similarly outrageous claims to the United Nations and other international forums, and that's more serious. Such maneuvers could dangerously undermine international arms control agreements.
Russian officials find these fabrications handy at home as well. They use them to justify their military operations and bolster domestic support for the war, despite the increasing losses of the Russian military. Estimates of Russian military personnel killed in little over six months range from 25,000 to 45,000, which is 10 times the number of fatalities the United States suffered in Afghanistan over the course of 20 years.
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