Russia makes new claims on US-financed biolabs in Ukraine
The Ukrainian authorities have been urgently destroying pathogens studied at its laboratories linked to the US Department of Defense, the Russian military claimed on Monday, adding that such activities hint at the military purposes of these studies.
As many as 30 biological laboratories have been established in Ukraine that are actively cooperating with the US military, the commander of the Russian radiological, chemical and biological defense force, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, said at a news briefing on Monday.
The list of these laboratories’ partners includes the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) – the largest biomedical research facility administered by the US military; the general added.
Many of these laboratories have been active since the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine and their emergence in the country has coincided with a spike in infectious diseases in the region, including German measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis, the Russian military said.
After the Russian forces launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, these laboratories started hastily destroying the materials they had been working on, including the highly pathogenic bacterial and viral agents, Kirillov has said, adding that Moscow has obtained documents related to that process.
Analysis of the documents shows that the laboratories had been working with dangerous infections such as anthrax and the plague. “Assortment and the excessive quantity of the biological agents suggest that the work done in these laboratories had been part of some military biological programs,” the general has said, adding that just one such laboratory in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov had destroyed as many as 320 containers with pathogens causing plague, swamp fever and Malta fever among others.
“If these collections fall into the hands of the Russian experts, they will highly likely prove Ukraine and the US have been in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention,” Kirillov has said, adding that “this is the only reason that can explain the hasty destruction” of those materials.
The general has also expressed his concerns that all the biological materials needed for the alleged military biological program to continue had been already transported to the US.
Kiev has denied developing bioweapons, and Washington has not commented on the Russian military statements so far.
Moscow has been raising alarm about the activities of the US-financed biological laboratories located in the former Soviet states for quite some time. Earlier, it pointed to the Lugar Research Center – a US-funded laboratory in Georgia – as a place where some dangerous experiments are being conducted.
The Pentagon brushed off such accusations as a “Russian disinformation campaign” at that time.