Does NATO have a secret headquarters under the Azovstal plant in Ukraine, where they produce biological weapons?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal Exposed!
People are sharing schematics of a secret NATO headquarters under the Azovstal plant, where they claim biological weapons are being produced in Ukraine.
It was actively promoted by Russian political scientist, Sergei Markov, Russia Today, and several Italian TV channels including PiazzaPulita on La7 and Rai 1, as well as the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
Online posts often included this long story, which is rather long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts.
Truth : There Is No Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and shared by not only pro-Russia activists, but also the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
Here are the facts behind the two viral schematics, and why this is just fake news…
Fact #1 : Azovstal Plant Complex Was Created By Soviet Union
The massive Azovstal plant complex was created in the 1930s, as a priority construction project by the Soviet Union.
They spent 292 million rubles to create the massive steel plant complex that would be capable of producing 4 million tons of pig iron a year.
That target was partly demanded by Soviet leaders to beat the Americans whose Gary steel plant was “only” capable of smelting 3 million tons a year.
Fact #2 : Azovstal Bunkers Were Built By Soviet Union
The fake news creators used this infographic from the Daily Mail UK as “evidence” that the Azovstal tunnels were created by NATO.
Ironically, the infographic specifically pointed out that the bunkers and tunnels under the Azovstal plant complex were built by the Soviet Union, to “safeguard the steel plant’s 40,000 workers in the event of a nuclear attack”.
These bunkers and tunnels were built many decades earlier by the Soviet Union, not NATO.
Fact #3 : No Evidence Of NATO Facility Called PIT-404
There is no evidence of any NATO facility called PIT-404 ever existed.
The fabulous fact checkers at MythDetector.ge did a great job of tracing the origin of this PIT-404 claim to an April 4, 2022 post in the Russian forum, strategium.ru.
In that post, a user called sojnyshkotanya claimed that there is a bio-laboratory under Azovstal, and mentioned PIT several times in reference to Azovstal.
sojnyshkotanya also noted that the best route for the evacuation of Western officials from that facility is from Mariupol to Samsun – a distance of 404 miles.
That was the most likely origin of the name and story of the mysterious PIT-404 underground NATO facility that produces biological weapons.
Fact #4 : PIT-404 Schematic Was From A Board Game!
The image that people are sharing as the PIT-404 NATO facility schematic was actually taken from a board game called Blackout: Journey into Darkness by Richard T. Boardwater.
This board game was pitched on Kickstarter in 2016 as a game for 1-4 people who try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by monsters, where humans now have to survive in bunkers.
You can see its bunker graphic under the Beneath The Surface section of their Kickstarter pitch), with the following description :
Doesn’t sound like a NATO facility, does it?
The game ultimately didn’t achieve its fundraising goal and was not greenlit, but its bunker design has now found everlasting fame as the (non-existent) PIT-404 NATO facility in the fevered dreams of Russian and Chinese conspiracy theorists.
Fact #5 : PiazzaPulita Admitted Their Mistake
On 22 April 2022, PiazzaPulita admitted that they were wrong to claim that the Blackout bunker schematic was of the Azovstal steel factory bunkers.
As far as I can tell, Sergei Markov – the Russian political scientist and former Putin advisor – has yet to admit his mistake…
Fact #6 : Metabiota Is Not Owned By Hunter Biden Or Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The fake story claimed that “this headquarters is run by the Metabiota Corporation of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his direct partner, Volodymyr Zelensky“. That’s utter nonsense.
Metabiota is a private company owned by 21 venture capitalist companies, one of which is Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners – a private equity firm partly owned by Hunter Biden.
So no, Metabiota is not owned by Hunter Biden. Neither is it owned by Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The fact that the fake news creators got the name Volodymyr wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
Fact #7 : French General Eric Vidaud Failed To Predict Russian Invasion
French General Eric Vidaud was fired at the end of March 2022 for failing to predict Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – in sharp contrast with other Western Allies.
Vidaud, who led the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM) was asked to step down, after an internal defence ministry investigation criticised “insufficient briefings” and “failure to master the issues”.
The fact that the fake news creators got the name Vidaud wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
Fact #8 : US General Roger Cloutier Jr. Was Not Captured
US Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier Jr. was not shot down in his helicopter, and captured by Russian forces in Mariupol.
A NATO spokesperson, Brian Andries said that Cloutier is currently commanding NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey and has not been to Ukraine since July 2021.
The fact that the fake news creators got the name Cloutier wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
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