Did Russian special forces, under the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, destroy an "adrenochrome lab in Ukraine" as of January 23, 2023? No, that's not true: This claim comes from a website that regularly publishes fabricated content. Lead Stories has previously debunked content from this website that mentioned the "adrenochrome" conspiracy theory.
The claim appeared in an article published by Real Raw News on January 20, 2023, titled "Putin Destroys Adrenochrome Lab in Ukraine" (archived here). It opened:
Russian Special Forces on Tuesday raided and destroyed an "Adrenochrome farm" near the Ukrainian city of Shostka, where sinister forces tortured abducted Russian children to harvest fluid from their adrenal glands, said a Mar-a-Lago source who claims Russian President Vladimir Putin informed President Trump of the operation after Spetznas had rescued 50 young kids from the ghastly laboratory.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
A January 23, 2023, Google News search using the keywords "Russian Special Forces Destroy Adrenochrome Lab in Ukraine," produced no results to substantiate this claim.
Adrenochrome is a chemical compound linked to adrenaline. The claim that the wealthy and famous take adrenochrome from children for nutrients is part of the QAnon conspiracy theory. More Lead Stories fact checks about adrenochrome can be found here.
In QAnon lore, Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMBs) are the mythical places where kidnapped children are held captive for adrenochrome harvesting.
Real Raw News
Real Raw News is a website that consistently publishes made-up stories about U.S. politics. The well-written English and news-style layout of the website make it look like a legitimate news source, so it often fools people into believing the stories are real. Screenshots and copies of the stories regularly turn up on other websites or on social media where they are presented as real.
It bills itself as "humor, parody and satire" on the "about" page (archived here):
Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.
The same "about" page claims the main author is a man named Michael Baxter. In 2021 a PolitiFact article (archived here) identified the writer as a "Michael Tuffin" in Texas based on records found in a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the site.
NewsGuard, a tool that provides credibility ratings for websites, published a five-page PDF report (archived here) in 2021 describing realrawnews.com as, "An anonymously run website that has published baseless and debunked conspiracies about COVID-19 and U.S. politics." It cautioned that the website severely violates basic journalistic standards."
Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items are collected here.