Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of assisting the Ukrainians with the development of ‘biological warfare facilities’ in Kyiv and Odessa. Lavrov leveled the charge at a press conference on Thursday, which was echoed by top-ranking Russian diplomatic negotiators at Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Belarus on Monday. Watch:
“We have data that the Pentagon is preoccupied with the chemical and biological installations in Ukraine,” Lavrov claimed. “The Pentagon built two biowarfare labs and they have been developing pathogens there in Kyiv and in Odessa.”
“And now they are concerned that they may lose control over these labs,” he argued. “And you know what it may be like in future. And the Americans decline flatly and resolutely to start an inspection mechanism as part of the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons. And they build new chemical and biological facilities all across Russian borders.”
“And, you know, many other developments happen,” Lavrov went on. “The CIA has been on the ground in droves, and they have been training the Ukrainian army, not to wage a war with Poland, apparently. And when developments in Iraq happened, when the United States claimed it was a threat to the U.S. national security, did anyone ask back then why the United States back then decided to bring a country 10,000 kilometers off its coast to order, because the U.S. is a great power?”
“When Russia says there is a threat to us, they start telling us that there is not a threat at all, but you know, we will decide what is needed to provide for our security,” Lavrov stated. “And it’s close and next to our borders, we will not go 10,000 kilometers away to enforce our rules.”
Russia is therefore invoking the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a pretext for invading Ukraine. It turned out after the invasion that weapons inspectors could find scant if any evidence that then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was maintaining an active Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program. However, the New York Times reported that Iraq had old stockpiles of WMDs that were discovered by U.S. soldiers.
In May 2020, Lavrov accused the United States “categorically opposing the adoption of a protocol to the convention of banning biological and toxin weapons, which would establish a mechanism to verify compliance by member countries with their obligation not to produce such weapons.”
“The United States’ reluctance to ensure transparency of its military-biological activities in different regions of the world, of course, raises questions about what is really happening and what goals are being pursued,” Lavrov said at a news conference after a virtial meeting with foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“These laboratories are densely formed along the perimeter of the borders of the Russian Federation, and, accordingly, next to the borders of the People’s Republic of China,” Lavrov added.
Even while Lavrov is accusing the United States of funding and overseeing ‘biowarfare’ laboratories in Ukraine, the Biden administration is relying on his diplomacy to help reinstate the Iranian nuclear deal that was rescinded under former President Donald Trump. On Monday, Lavrov discussed the prospect of reinstating the nuclear deal with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian by phone, according to the Russian foreign ministry.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Ukraine thus appear to be deadlocked amid a Putin-authorized invasion of his Eastern European neighbor. A high-ranking Russian negotiator claimed on Monday that the Ministry of Defense has evidence Ukraine developed biological weapons components.’
RIA Novosti reported that data obtained by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Ukraine’s purported development of biological weapons components “confirm that the Russian Federation had good reasons for conducting a special military operation to demilitarize Ukraine,” said Leonid Slutsky, head of the Duma Committee on International Affairs and a member of the Russian delegation at the talks with Ukraine.
As earlier reported, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said that the Russian Defense Ministry would provide an “analysis of documents” on a program to create biological weapons components in Ukraine. Becker News translated and analyzed the documents here.
Slutsky also noted that, on February 24, according to the Ukrainian-language documents produced by Russia, laboratory staff in Ukraine received an order to immediately destroy especially dangerous pathogens, including the causative agents of ‘plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera’ and other deadly diseases.
“We are getting more and more confirmation that Russia had more than good reasons for conducting a special military operation to demilitarize Ukraine,” Slutsky claimed on his Telegram channel.
The Duma delegate also noted that Moscow had repeatedly warned that U.S. biolaboratories, far from pursuing peaceful purposes, were located in a number of post-Soviet countries.
“But the so-called” world community “which today is going into Russophobic fits, was silent and simply “closed its eyes,” Slutsky claimed. Now, Washington and Kiev ‘s “blatant violation of their international obligations, primarily the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction (BTWC), has become obvious. Just as it is obvious that it should be the subject of a separate investigation, including by the UN structures. If, of course, we talk about this in the coordinate system of objectivity and impartiality,” he added.
On February 24, Russia launched military operations in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin claimed that the goal was “the protection of people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” According to Putin, his plan was to carry out a “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”
On Sunday, the Russian media outlet RIA Novosti released documents that the Ministry of Defense points to as evidence that Ukraine was undertaking research in U.S.-funded biolabs that has the capability to be used for bioweapons.
Major General Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, provided the information to journalists. Moscow said that the documents, allegedly originating from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories, confirmed that “components of biological weapons were being developed in Ukraine, in close proximity to Russian territory,” as reported by RIA Novosti. Watch:
“In the course of a special military operation, the facts of an emergency cleansing by the Kiev regime of traces of a military biological program being implemented in Ukraine, funded by the US Department of Defense, were uncovered,” Konashenkov said.
“We have received documentation from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories on the emergency destruction of especially dangerous pathogens on February 24 — the causative agents of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases,” Konashenkov claimed.
The documents, with an exclusive translation via Becker News, follows below:
“The Ukrainian Minister of Health Security in connection with the introduction of martial law in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, according to the Ukrainian Presidential Order on 24.02.2022, No. 64/2022 requests to ensure the emergency destruction of biological pathogens used to ensure the quality management system of laboratories in the attached order: appendix on 2 sheets. in 1 approx.”
The document references Viktor Liashko, the Minister of Health in Ukraine.
“The order carrying out of emergency destruction of the biological pathogenic agents which are used for maintenance of system and quality management of laboratory in case of emergence of extraordinary military character”:
- This Order determines the mechanism of carrying out the emergency destruction of biologic pathogenic agents, which are used to ensure the quality management system of laboratory tests (hereinafter – biological pathogens), in case of military situations.
- For the timely implementation of measures aimed at the destruction of biological pathogens in the event of emergencies, the heads of disease control and prevention centers under the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the laboratory centers under the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and government agencies “Ukrainian Research Anti-Plague Institute named after I.I. Mechnikov of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine” and public institutions of the “Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine”:
1. Approve plans for emergency destruction of biological pathogenic agents in case of military emergencies;
2. Determine the authorities responsible for the emergence of military emergencies;
3. Provide for the creation of reserves of funds for the emergency destruction of biological pathogens and in case of emergencies of a military nature.
3. [sic] Institutions that hold working sets of biological pathogens to ensure the quality management system of laboratory tests, must destroy them by disinfection (hereinafter – disinfection);
4. Disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by certain rehabilitative persons with secondary or secondary special education, who… have been trained in laboratory biosafety and bioanalysis and have experience working with biological pathogens.
5. Disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by autoclaving with mandatory compliance with the relevant regimes and control in accordance with the requirements of applicable regulations;
6. In the case where it is impossible to use an autoclave, disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by appropriate disinfectants or by boiling;
7. The results of disinfection are entered in the control log, the work of air and steam (autoclave) sterilizers, form No. 257/0, approved by the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of January 4, 2001 No. 1 “About the statement of the forms of the medical accounting documentation used in laboratories of medical and preventive institutions” (with changes).
8. Disposal of decontaminated material will be adjudicated in accordance with internal procedures approved by the institution.
Critically, the document then lists the cultures that are to be destroyed:
- C. diphtheriae gravis tox – 0-1101
- C. diphtheriae mitis tox- 203 AG
- C. pseudeodipthericum 02-92 z (9-61)
- C. diphtheriae tox +NCTC 10648
- C. diptheriae tox – NCTC 10356
- C. xerosis NCTC 12078
- B. liheniformis “C”
- B. stearothermophilis BKM-B-718
- S.aureus.subsp.aureus ATCC 25923
- E Coli (Beta)
- P.aeruginosa ATCC 27853
- K. penumoniae K-56 3534.51
The document appears to be signed by the Head of Microbiological Laboratories, Karlivsky V.P., as well as by Nadiya Kushka, Lyubov Bobritska, Tetiyana Shebchenko, and Peter Vasiliev.
“Fact-checkers,” such as Snopes, have denied that there are ‘bioweapons’ laboratories in Ukraine that are ‘run’ by the United States. According to one “fact check” of a viral post on biolabs in Ukraine, “the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Department of Defense of the United States of America entered into an agreement in 2005, while Republican U.S. President George W. Bush was in office, to ‘stem the threat of bio-terrorism by placing safeguards on deadly pathogens dating from a Soviet-era biological weapons program,’ according to a contemporaneous news article in the Chicago Tribune. While the U.S. Defense Department’s Biological Threat Reduction Program provided some funding to upgrade biolabs in the Ukraine, these facilities are operated by the Ukrainian government under guidelines set under Ukrainian law.”
The article cites the Kyiv Post:
According to the SBU, in 2005 the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the U.S. Department of Defense signed a framework agreement to prevent the spread of technologies, pathogens and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons. As part of this Agreement, a number of state laboratories located in Odesa, Kharkiv, Lviv, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk regions were modernized (repair work was carried out, equipment was updated, supplies were purchased, etc.).
“We emphasize that these laboratories are financed from the state budget, are subordinate to the Ministry of Health and the state service on food safety and consumer protection,” the SBU said.
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has published information about its “Biological Threat Reduction Program” in Ukraine:
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program collaborates with partner countries to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental, or natural) of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases. The program accomplishes its bio-threat reduction mission through development of a bio-risk management culture; international research partnerships; and partner capacity for enhanced bio-security, bio-safety, and bio-surveillance measures. The Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.
Current executive agents of the Biological Threat Reduction Program in Ukraine are the Ministry of Health, the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, and the Ministry of Defense.
There are fact sheets on the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine website on the following laboratories (the links do not appear to be working).
- Lviv Diagnostic Laboratory (PDF 101 KB)
- Lviv Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (PDF 101 KB)
- Kharkiv Diagnostic Laboratory (PDF 98 KB)
- Luhansk Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (Luhansk RDVL) (PDF 91 KB)
- Dnipropetrovsk Diagnostic Laboratory (PDF 102 KB)
- Vinnytsia Diagnostic Laboratory (Vinnytsia DL) (PDF 99 KB)
The U.S. embassy website partly corroborates a ‘viral map’ that purports to show American biological laboratories in Ukraine.
There is no strong evidence of U.S. funded “bioweapons” research in Ukraine. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that this is Russian disinformation. But the U.S. embassy in Ukraine lists biological “threat reduction” laboratories, similar to the ones the U.S. funded in Wuhan. The readers can draw their own conclusions.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.