US limits scientific cooperation with Russia over Ukraine ‘disinformation campaign’ fears

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The guidance for the US Government and affiliated organisations on scientific and technical cooperation with the Russian Federation was published by the White House yesterday. They said: “The United States is committed to international scientific cooperation that flows from the mutual recognition of shared values, including scientific freedom, openness, transparency, honesty, equity, fair competition, objectivity, and democratic principles. The Kremlin’s unlawful and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine is an affront to the principles we seek to affirm and our efforts to advance international science, technology, and innovation for development.”

The report continued: “We remain concerned that the Kremlin continues to leverage state-controlled institutions to aid in its disinformation campaign against Ukraine.

“In response to Putin’s aggression, the US government has taken active measures to limit bilateral science and technology research cooperation with the Russian government.”

Accordingly, the US is now moving to “wind down” institutional, administrative, funding, and personnel relationships and research collaborations with Russian government-affiliated science and technology institutions and those individuals who work for them.

As part of this, governmental agencies and departments have been advised to curtail their interactions with the leadership of Russian government-affiliated universities and research bodies — as well as those that have expressed public support for the invasion of Ukraine.

The White House has said that projects and programs that began or were funded prior to February 2022 may be brought to completion.

However, new science and technology projects will not be initiated, they added.

The guidance said that non-governmental institutions should make their own determinations as to how to proceed with contact and collaboration with the Russian scientific community.

Where maintained, such interactions should serve to further “an open exchange of ideas within the international science and technology community.”

The White House added: “The United States recognizes that many Russians — inside and outside of Russia — are opposed to Putin’s war of choice in Ukraine.

“While some — including in the scientific community — have bravely stood up in defiance, the Russian government’s measures to restrict freedom of expression have made it far more difficult for Russians to express their opposition to this unjust war without fear of retribution.”

“We will continue to denounce all perpetrators of xenophobia and seek to ensure that Russian scientists who have chosen to leave Russia and/or remain in the United States due to their convictions are supported and not discriminated against or stigmatized.

“We encourage the broader US and international community to do the same.”

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The guidance concluded by observing that the US will continue to support any science and technology forum, infrastructure or venue dedicated to fostering peaceful international collaboration.

Nevertheless, the White House said: “The United States government will seek to limit engagement with the Russian government in various international projects and initiatives related to science and technology.”

Exceptions will apply in cases where the US is required by its obligations under international law.

This policy will remain in effect, they added, “until Russia ends its war against Ukraine.”

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