In 2020, and then in 2021, representatives of the Celestial Empire were interested in the American virus-based weapons program and called for lifting the veil of secrecy over the activities of laboratories in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The news about the destruction by Ukraine of traces of a joint military biological program with the United States aroused the interest of Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called on the White House, which gives only limited comments, to be open about the mission of the network of biolabs established by Washington and Kiev in the mid-2000s. China expects the US to provide a “comprehensive explanation of its internal and external biological warfare activities,” which could be followed by “multilateral audits.” According to the PRC, there are 336 foreign biological laboratories in the world with the participation of America, 26 of which are located in Ukraine. Since 2003, there have beenover a hundred leaks. In the vicinity of US biolaboratories in the post-Soviet space, an increased epidemiological background has been noted more than once. Russia paid attention to this – but did not achieve anything other than brief denials.
Superpower and Microorganisms
The discovery of the remnants of biolaboratories is able to transfer the discussion to another – the legal plane. Experiments on harmful strains may fall under the international Convention on the Prohibition of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons, concluded with the participation of the United States back in the 1970s. According to the Russian Ministry of Defe-nse, it has already been established that Ukrainians and Americans have worked with pathogens that spread plague, anthrax, diphtheria and brucellosis. Further research and the emergence of new documents may confirm the violation by the Americans of article one of this convention. In Beijing, they are in favor of America responding in detail and dispelling doubts about “what viruses were stored and what research was being done,” Zhao Lijian suggested.
And this approach is not surprising. From China’s point of view, what happened in Ukraine confirms long-standing suspicions formulated on the pages of the official publication of the Global Times almost a year ago. “Why is the United States building so many biolabs around the world? How much information on sensitive biological issues has it received from other countries? <…> What is the connection between these biolabs and next-generation biological weapons?” the publication asked questions, referring at the same time to the source of curiosity – the point of view of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
In the absence of a clear response from the United States, Beijing took a step forward the day before. For the first time, Chinese authorities have released precise figures on how many countries they believe have agreed to host American biolaboratories— thirty dozen —and on the total number of research centers. China made a statement to this effect during a Russian special operation in Ukraine, when information from domestic sources is censored by the world media. It is quite natural that Newsweek saw this as a landmark turn – “a significant step towards the camp of Moscow.”
The United States is not interested
In contrast to China’s harsh reaction, the US has been slow to talk about biolabs. The topic did not interest either the American media or the political class, with the exception of Senator Marco Rubio, who, during a discussion of Venezuela with Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, asked the question: “I have only a minute to ask: does Ukraine have biological or chemical weapons or not? “
The official replied: “There are biological research facilities in Ukraine, in fact we are now very concerned that the Russian military may be trying to take control of them. So we are working with the Ukrainians so that they can prevent the transition of any of these research materials into the hands of Russian forces if they get close.”
Why Americans do exactly as Nuland describes is not at all obvious. After all, if we are talking about a peaceful program of joint cooperation with Ukraine, there is absolutely nothing to fear. On the contrary, it is more natural to enter into negotiations on the conservation of biological reagents. The situation is quite different if their composition is problematic: it runs counter to America’s obligations. Then it is worth asking why it is so. This question can also be put differently: what is the essence of the experiments carried out in the laboratories? The Americans do not give an exhaustive answer to it.
The reaction of Great Britain, the closest ally of the States, is also unable to dispel Russian and Chinese suspicions. “Reports of this kind have been coming in for a long time. And now there are more of them, since it is about an attempt to retroactively justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the official representative of the department wrote on the social network. London, like Washington, avoided discussing the issue on the merits.
Traces lead to the “Maidan”
It is of interest that the first reports of cooperation between the structures of the US Department of Defense and Ukraine for the creation of biological laboratories date back to 2005 – the same year when human rights activists and the press first reported the existence of secret CIA prisons. The project of the American intelligence service is somewhat reminiscent of a series of biolaboratories: this is also a network that spreads over dozens of countries of the world and was also created for an unseemly purpose – to treat criminals according to circumstances.
It took a year after the first publications for Washington to acknowledge the existence of prisons, but it was an admission without all the details. Later, it became known about the numerous tortures of alleged criminals, among those responsible for which was Gina Haspel, promoted by President Trump to the post of CIA director. To this day there is no exhaustive list of prisons, and most of the prisons associated with them are covered in darkness. But even with a lack of data, it is not at all surprising that at the same time the United States could deploy and deployed a network of potentially dangerous biolaboratories, using allies to host them, who had just proved their loyalty in practice – agreeing to host the prison.
In the case of Ukraine, responsibility for the creation of biolaboratories (whether there were secret prisons in the country has been arguing for many years, and now this also needs to be sorted out) falls on President Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power thanks to mass unrest on the Maidan in 2004. A supporter of NATO, Yushchenko, during the years when biolaboratories were being created, became close to US President George W. Bush. Under pressure from the Americans, Ukraine was almost issued a roadmap for joining NATO in 2008 at the Bucharest summit. Then arithmetic intervened in the matter … and the German chancellor, a supporter of common sense. “With Merkel [I] had a very short, about five minutes, dialogue. She says: Mr. President, one of the problems that stops us is that today only a third of Ukrainians share the NATO project,” Yushchenko shared his memories in 2021. The meeting was disappointing. “For me, the arguments that Merkel expressed then have not been accepted and are unacceptable to this day. These are weak arguments on which that decision could not be based,” he accuses, recalling the example of Spain, admitted to NATO contrary to the opinion of its citizens.
Whether Yushchenko’s then plan for a speedy entry into the alliance included reciprocal concessions to the United States, and if so, which ones, Russia will be able to figure out as the special operation continues.
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