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25 Mar, 2024 15:58

US still operating biolabs in Ukraine – Russian envoy

Washington is trying to hide its own activities by blocking Moscow’s push for tougher controls, a diplomat claims
US still operating biolabs in Ukraine – Russian envoy

The US continues to operate 30 biolabs on the territory of Ukraine as part of an illegal military-biological program, Russia’s envoy to the Netherlands has claimed.

The number of American laboratories on Ukrainian territory has been “well-known for a long time,” Vladimir Tarabrin, who is also Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper on Sunday.

The diplomat recalled that the head of Russia’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, had claimed in March 2022 that 30 such biolabs existed. 

“Our armed forces discovered documents confirming the extensive military biological program deployed by the US and NATO countries on the territory of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics,” he said.

The Kiev government allegedly began destroying dangerous pathogens in the laboratories and suspending research on February 24, 2022, the day Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine, but “in 2023 the implementation of those programs resumed, only their name was changed,” Tarabrin claimed.

Asked if the number of the US biolabs in Ukraine still stands at 30, the ambassador said: “According to our data, yes.”

“It’s not surprising, therefore, that over the past 20 years, Washington has been blocking all Russian initiatives aimed at strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) regime and creating an effective mechanism for verifying compliance with its provisions by all participating countries,” Tarabrin said.

Over the past two years Moscow has repeatedly raised concerns over an alleged network of secretive US-funded laboratories in Ukraine, publishing troves of documents captured from Kiev authorities, which it claims are linked to the operations of those facilities.

Last April, Kirillov said Russia had “no doubt that the US, under the guise of ensuring global biosecurity, conducted dual-use research, including the creation of biological weapons components, in close proximity to Russian borders.”

The US government has confirmed the existence of the biolabs in Ukraine, but insisted that they are entirely legal and not intended for military purposes, despite mostly being funded via the Pentagon. Washington has denied Moscow’s claims of the labs being used to work on bio-weapons as a “Russian disinformation campaign.”

Kirillov also said a year ago that the US biolab program in Ukraine, which was previously known as ‘Joint biological research’, was rebranded as ‘Biological control research’ so that it could continue its operations.

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