A conspiracy theory blaming the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot on Ukraine is going viral once again among conservatives online.
The accusation received renewed attention on Monday after far-right activist Laura Loomer alleged to have uncovered the so-called bombshell.
“I have exclusively confirmed that the FBI identified Ukrainian operations and Neo Nazis who were at the US Capitol on J6 and even questioned J6ers about these Ukranian spies during interviews with the FBI,” Loomer tweeted.
Specifically, Loomer cites Jacob Chansley, the rioter better known as the QAnon Shaman, as being one of the individuals questioned by the FBI.
Chansley, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his involvement in the riot but was released early in late March, was purportedly questioned due to his appearance in a photo with the alleged Ukrainian operative.
Chansley claims that the FBI confirmed the Ukranian man in the photo, said to be named Sergai Dybynyn, was a neo-Nazi spy for the Ukrainian government.
Yet despite Loomer’s claims, allegations against Dybynyn have been ongoing since shortly after the riot.
While Loomer and others accuse Dybynyn of having ties to the Ukrainian government, others have long characterized the man as a conspiracy theorist with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FBI has declined to comment on the allegations made by Chansley regarding Dybynyn, whose views and allegiances remain unclear.
Conservatives, who have spent the last two years conjuring up conspiracy theories about the riot, quickly hailed Loomer’s tweet thread as a historic revelation.
“@LauraLoomer may have just uncovered an *act of war* on the United States by Ukrainian intelligence assets on J6. This was never disclosed to the public,” one right-wing user tweeted. “Why are we funding a country that helped coordinate J6?! How deep does this go? Hey GOP – time to INVESTIGATE!”
In reality, the mere appearance of a Ukrainian at the Capitol proves nothing by itself. After supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, conservatives initially praised the act. When the seriousness of the situation set in, conservatives shifted to downplaying the attack before ultimately placing the blame elsewhere.
Since the riot took place, Trump supporters have repeatedly shifted blame from entities such as the FBI to antifa for carrying out the attack. Despite those who committed violence that day being identified as well-known Trump supporters, the right continues to develop conspiracy theories to ignore their culpability.
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*First Published: Sep 5, 2023, 12:52 pm CDT
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.