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7 Apr, 2023 16:47

US resumes biolabs program in Ukraine – Russian MOD

Washington is constructing secretive new facilities and is training personnel, Moscow has claimed
US resumes biolabs program in Ukraine – Russian MOD

The US has quietly resumed its controversial biolabs program in Ukraine and is focusing on the construction of secretive new facilities and the training of personnel, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed.

A new trove of documents on alleged US-funded biological programs in Ukraine was presented by the commander of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, during a media briefing on Friday.

Kirillov cited the protocol from a meeting dated October 20, 2022, which was attended by representatives of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and multiple Ukrainian officials, as well as figures from the Jacobs/CH2M engineering company. The meeting reportedly focused on the resumption of biological research in Ukraine, which was “paused” due to the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev. 

“Now, the project has been resumed with focus on renewal of legislative support, revision of training schedule, as well as conclusion and resumption of construction work,” the Ukrainian-language protocol stated, citing Jacobs/CH2M’s David Smith. 

The program was previously known as ‘Joint biological research’ but has been rebranded as ‘Biological control research’, the document indicated. It cited concerns over an alleged “Russian disinformation campaign” on the issue. 

The US has engaged in damage control efforts to prevent potential leaks from Ukrainian specialists on the true nature of the biological research programs, Kirillov asserted.

“Hiding from responsibility for participating in military biological projects, many suspects left the territory of Ukraine. To prevent a possible leak of information about the illegal activities of the Pentagon, the US administration is taking emergency measures to search for and return them,” the commander argued. 

US damage control began shortly after the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022, another document suggested. The Russian military presented a draft memo titled ‘Reducing the Threat of Ukrainian Expertise Proliferating to US Adversaries’, penned by Laura Denlinger, a senior counterproliferation adviser with the US State Department.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in… the exodus of highly capable technical experts from Ukrainian facilities that produce missile components and advanced conventional weapons (ACW), as well as those with expertise that could be redirected and exploited by others for a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapon,” reads the memo, dated March 11, 2022.  

Moscow raised allegations of a sprawling network of secretive US-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine early in the conflict, and has since frequently published troves of documents on the matter. Russia took the issue of biolabs to the UN last October, requesting an international probe. The motion, however, was turned down by the UN Security Council, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.