China and Russian MoD Urge Pentagon to Open Up About “Biolabs” in Ukraine
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Beijing said that the US defense department controls 336 laboratories around the world
China’s foreign ministry has called on the US to disclose information on the Pentagon’s alleged biological laboratories in Ukraine “as soon as possible”.
On Monday, the Russian military said Ukrainian authorities had been destroying pathogens studied at its laboratories. Moscow claimed that 30 US-financed Ukrainian biolabs have been actively cooperating with the American military.
Kiev has denied developing bioweapons. According to the website of the US embassy in Kiev, the US Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program only “collaborates with partner countries to counter the threat of outbreaks” of infectious diseases. In 2020, the embassy called such theories about US-funded biolabs in Ukraine “disinformation.”
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian claimed that, according to his country’s information, the laboratories in Ukraine are just “a tip of an iceberg” and that the US Department of Defense “controls 336 biological laboratories in 30 countries around the world.” This is done under the pretext of “cooperating to reduce biosecurity risks” and “strengthening global public health,” Zhao said.
It is the first time that Beijing has disclosed the alleged figure. Zhao said that according to data “released by the United States itself,” there are 26 US laboratories in Ukraine. In light of Russia’s military offensive in the country, he urged “all parties concerned” to ensure the safety of the labs.
“In particular, the United States, as the party which knows these laboratories best, should publish the relevant details as soon as possible, including which viruses are stored and which research has been carried out,” he said.
He claimed the US “has been exclusively obstructing” the establishment of an independent verification mechanism. Such behavior, Zhao said, “further aggravates the concerns of the international community.”
According to a report in The Rio Times, the US embassy in Ukraine deleted all information about Pentagon-financed bio-labs in the country from its website on February 26. However, journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva claimed embassy staff forgot to remove a document showing that the Pentagon is funding two new biolabs in Kiev and Odessa.
“Ukraine has no control over the military biolabs. The Ukrainian government is not allowed to release sensitive information about the program,” the Brazilian news outlet claimed.
Over the past 20 years, the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine, jointly established with the United States, invested over $285 million in about 1,850 projects carried out by scientists who, according to Gaytandzhieva, previously worked on the development of weapons of mass destruction.
US authorities are yet to comment on the latest claims.
At the same time, the US has “covered” Ukraine with a network of biolaboratories linked to the Pentagon, the Russian Defense Ministry says
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.