Russia and China are concerned

Russia and China are concerned

Elena Popova

The Russian Defense Ministry has discovered biological laboratories in Ukraine that worked for the Uni-ted States. The department is confident that th-eir activities were quickly curtailed in the hope of preventing experts from confirming that Kyiv and Washington violated the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly called on the Americans to join an international document to control bacteriological threats. But the White House did not agree.
On the border
“A network has been formed on the territory of Ukraine, including more than 30 biological laboratories, which can be divided into research and sanitary-epidemiological ones,” Igor Kirillov, head of the radiation, chemical and biological protection troops of the Russian Armed Forces, said at a briefing. According to him, these facilities, located in Lvov, Kharkiv and Poltava, worked with dangerous infectious agents “as part of a US-led military biological program.”
The customer is the US Department of Defense Defense Threat Reduction Office (DTRA). The Pentagon-linked company Black and Veatch participated in the project. Kirillov noted that in Lvov they were engaged in the causative agents of plague, anthrax and brucellosis, in Kharkov and Poltava – diphtheria, salmonellosis and dysentery.
This was also announced by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov. Russia has the relevant documents. The biolaboratories were c-losed in a hurry, the department explained, because of the Pentagon’s fears that “Russian experts would co-nfirm the violation by Ukr-aine and the United States of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons.”
The activity of biolaboratories, the Ministry of Defense pointed out, has led to an uncontrollable increase in the incidence of especially dangerous infections, a surge in which has been observed since 2014. The number of cases of diphtheria, rubella, tuberculosis, measles has incre-ased. The World Health Organization (WHO) has included Ukraine in the list of countries with a high risk of a polio outbreak.
Russia and China are concerned
Moscow and Beijing have long been concerned about the military-biological activity of the United States and its allies. In early February, Russian Presid-ent Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The heads of state signed a joint statement on international relations entering a new era and global sustainable development. In particular, they confirmed that “the Convention on the Prohibition of the Develop-ment, Production and Stoc-kpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BTWC) is of essential importance as a pillar of international peace and security.”
“The parties call on the United States and its allies to act openly, transparently and responsibly, properly reporting on their military biological activities carried out abroad and on their national territory,” the document says.
Chinese and Russian ex-perts and politicians, inclu-ding Academician of the Russian Academy of Scie-nces, Honored Doctor of Russia Gennady Onishch-enko, repeatedly reminded of the need to control Washington’s foreign military biological activity.
“The statement of the t-wo leaders focuses on nucl-ear, chemical and the real-life threat that has returned to the fore – uncontrolled weapons of mass destruction – biological. Russia and China emphasize their determination to maintain the authority and effectiveness of the Convention,” the scientist noted.
In 2001, the United States unilaterally withdrew from negotiations on the development of an additional protocol to the BTWC, according to which an independent body, the Technical Secretariat, was supposed to monitor the microbiological activities of all countries.
“This happened after the US military used on its own territory a combat biological formulation of anthrax strain Ames strain, resistant to all antibiotics and not amenable to treatment. The United States then stated that they had allegedly been attacked by terrorists and refused international control over their microbiological research”, – specified the academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Biological and Toxin Weapons was approved in 1972. It is the only international document of its kind.
“The Russian and Chinese leaders are calling on Washington to return to the international legal field. The Americans are arguing about the natural or artificial origin of the coronavirus. In 2001, they sabotaged the adoption of a legally binding control me-chanism. “But this is im-possible, and the United St-ates can only make unfo-unded statements. Today, the United States is the ma-in offenders, it is their acti-ons that disturb the world,” Onishchenko is sure.
American biolaboratories in the post-Soviet space
After the collapse of the USSR, American research centers were opened in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on the basis of Soviet institutes that had been dealing with infectious diseases and developing vaccines against plague, cholera and typhoid since the 1950s.
In the midst of an arms race, the prospect of biological and chemical warfare was very real. There were rumors that Soviet institutions were developing bioweapons against the West. There was no evidence. But after the collapse of the USSR, dangerous leaks had to be avoided. The United States volunteered to help – under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Allocated funds for the study of dangerous diseases. But with the condition that American specialists will also be able to work in laboratories. The strains collected in Central Asia and the Caucasus were exported to the West. Grants were allocated from the budget of NATO and the Pentagon.
Washington assured that the research was conducted only for peaceful purposes. However, after the statement of the former Minister of State Security of Georgia, Igor Giorgadze, a scandal erupted. According to him, the center’s employees admitted that they were carrying out orders from the Pentagon. There is “equipment for spraying harmful substances and ammunition with biologically active material.” In addition, dozens of patients treated there have died in one of the centers. The ex-minister did not rule out that they experimented on people in the laboratory. The US denied everything.
The Pentagon allocated $108 million for the Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Alma-Ata. This facility is considered state-owned and specializes in the study of virus strains characteristic of Kazakhstan. Four years ago, a surge in the incidence of meningitis was recorded in the republic. Rumors spread that it was Washington’s experiment.
There are similar biolaboratories in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They were also funded by the Americans. In the fall of 2020, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, at a meeting with his SCO colleagues, complained that “Washington, under the pretext of epidemiological assistance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, is collecting biodata.” China has demanded the closure of all American research facilities in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan allege that they do not have any US military developments. Beijing and Moscow are not reassured by this.
“The wars of the 21st century are hybrid. We must clearly understand this. The most important thing is to understand their laws, to counteract them – not only infections, but also such hybrid information-terrorist attacks designed for all sectors of society. Epidemiology has always been a political problem – because it is concerns the impact on the whole society, not only on the sick,” Onishchenko emphasizes.
The Russian Defense Ministry noted that over the past two years, Germany has been studying the pathogens of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis, meningitis and hantaviruses in Ukraine to ensure biological security at the external borders of the EU. According to Igor Kirillov, under the pretext of testing drugs and preventing coronavirus infection, “several thousand samples of the serum of patients, primarily belonging to the Slavic ethnic group, were taken out of Ukraine.” The biomaterials were delivered to the Walter Reed Research Institute of the US Army.

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