The Russian Defence Ministry earlier announced that the United States had poured money into biological research facilities in Ukraine, alleging they may have been used in order to create biological weapons and conduct bat coronavirus-related experiments.
Among the goals of the biological research laboratories in Ukraine suspected of having been funded by the United States was the creation of bioagents that would be capable of targeting certain ethnic groups, the Russian Defence Ministry revealed on Thursday.
“The available documents confirm numerous cases of the transfer of biological samples of Ukrainian citizens abroad. With a high degree of probability, we can say that one of the tasks of the United States and its allies is the creation of bioagents that can selectively affect various ethnic groups of the population”, said Igor Kirillov, the head of the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces.
Kirillov said that 350 cryocontainers with blood serum samples were transferred from the Public Health Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to a reference laboratory for infectious diseases at Australia’s Doherty Institute under the pretext of determining antibody titers.
The Russian Defence Ministry has obtained documents confirming that the high-risk biological research in Ukraine is led by US specialists. According to Kirillov, the documents also showed that the US Defence Department funded the biological research in Ukraine.
He also said that Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland “indirectly” confirmed American participation in the Ukrainian biological research when she said that Washington was concerned about the Ukrainian biolabs being taken over by the Russians.
The biological research funded by the US in Ukraine, according to Kirillov, included the projects “UP-2, UP-9, UP-10, aimed at studying the pathogens of anthrax and African swine fever”. The UP-4 project, in particular, is said to have been in development in laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa, and was scheduled until 2020.Studying the spectrum of pathogens spread by bats© Photo : Russian Defence Ministry
Per Kirillov, the Pentagon was also interested in insect vectors that can spread dangerous infectious diseases.”The analysis of the received materials confirms the fact that more than 140 containers with ectoparasites of bats – fleas and ticks – were transferred from the biological laboratory in Kharkov abroad”, he elaborated.Peculiarities of conducting military-biological research© Photo : Russian Defence Ministry
Most of the documentation related to the research has already been evacuated from Ukraine by the Americans, Kirillov noted. “According to the available information, the Americans have already managed to evacuate most of the documentation from the laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa, including databases, biomaterials, and equipment to the Lvov Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene and to the American Consulate in Lvov. It is possible that part of the collection will be moved to Poland”, he said.
Additionally, biological laboratories in Ukraine and Georgia are working on a project involving bats as carriers of bioweapons, Kirillov said.
Similar concerns were earlier voiced by Major General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry. He said that the US-funded biological labs in Ukraine were conducting experiments with bat coronavirus samples and studying the possible spread of pathogens via wild birds, migrating between Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in the region.Study of the possibility of spreading especially dangerous pathogens through migratory birds© Photo : Russian Defence Ministry
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has denied that the United States is engaged in the development of biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. “This is preposterous. It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent”, she said.
According to Psaki, Washington is in “full compliance” with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and has no plans to develop or possess such weapons anywhere.
Victoria Nuland, whose statements were referred to by Igor Kirillov, said on Tuesday that “Ukraine has biological research facilities” and noted that Washington was “working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach”. She, however, did not elaborate on whether the US participated in the biological research in Ukraine.