Moscow claims Washington funded and organized alleged bioweapons programs in Ukraine
Russia has called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss alleged US-backed biological weapons programs in Ukraine. Washington denied owning or operating any such biological labs in the country, while Kyiv insisted the facilities were only engaged in civilian research.
Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, announced the move early on Friday, saying the mission had requested a Security Council summit for March 11 while citing a Defense Ministry briefing saying the United States and NATO allies had run “military biological programs” in Ukraine.
The military briefing went on to say that the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency is “to finance and carry out military biological research on the territory of Ukraine”, citing documents he said he captured at several facilities during Russia’s ongoing attack on the country. Among other activities, the ministry said research was being carried out at laboratories in Kyiv, Kharkov and Odessa to “study the possibility of the spread of particularly dangerous infections by migrating birds.”
Washington, however, has dismissed those accusations, with State Department spokesman Ned Price telling reporters on Wednesday that the United States “in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, and it does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere.”
Instead, Price argued that it was Russia that was operating “active chemical and biological weapons programs”, but did not elaborate or provide evidence for the counter-accusation.
Other US officials have offered varying responses to Russia’s claims. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, for example, told lawmakers on Tuesday that Ukraine had, in fact, “biological research facilities”, expressing concern that “Russian forces may seek to take control of” hazardous materials from these laboratories. She, however, refrained from confirming any American role in the facilities and did not go into detail about the type of work that had been carried out.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesky also spoke out on the issue, saying that all biolabs in his country have no military dimension and are “focused on civil science.” He claimed that most of the facilities have existed since the Soviet era.
“No chemical weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction are being developed on our soil,” he said on Friday.
US-funded labs in Ukraine treated bat coronavirus, Moscow says
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