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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles March 29, 2022

Claim that Putin beheaded bioweapon engineers, called Trump to tell him has no basis in fact

If Your Time is short

  • There is no evidence Putin beheaded 12 bioweapon engineers in Ukraine.

  • This claim comes from Real Raw News, a blog that has shown a pattern of fabricating news about politicians being executed or arrested by the military.

  • Though the story claims Putin told former President Donald Trump about the alleged beheading, a spokesperson for Trump said the account is baseless.

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.)

Featured Fact-check

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!

Our Sources

Real Raw News, Putin Beheads Bioweapon Engineers in Ukraine, March 23, 2022

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, accessed March 28, 2022

PolitiFact, Russia, China and Tucker Carlson lack evidence on Ukraine bioweapons labs, March 11, 2022

PolitiFact, There are no US-run biolabs in Ukraine, contrary to social media posts, Feb. 25, 2022

PolitiFact, Hangings, guillotines and Gitmo: Going behind Real Raw News’ sensational (and fabricated) headlines, Sept. 24, 2022

Email interview with Liz Harrington, spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump, March 28, 2022

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Claim that Putin beheaded bioweapon engineers, called Trump to tell him has no basis in fact

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