4 Oct 2018 16:48

U.S. may be working on biological weapons bypassing conventions - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax-AVN) - The United States is probably working on biological weapons despite its international obligations, the Russian military said.

The Defense Ministry reached this conclusion after analyzing documents on the U.S. military-biological program and the work of the U.S. laboratory in Georgia. This data has been published by Georgia's former state security minister Igor Giorgadze.

"An analysis of the materials provided by Igor Giorgadze causes concern at the Russian Defense Ministry and indicates that there is a high degree of probability that the United States is bypassing international agreements in conducting its activity and is continuing to increase its military-biological potential under the cover of protective or other peaceful research," said Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces.

"It is obvious that the U.S. has kept regulations in its national legislation that allow it to work in the sphere of biological weapons, despite its international obligations," Kirillov said.

The U.S. ratified the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous, or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare in 1925 (the Geneva Protocol) with some reservations, of which one allows for retaliatory use of chemical and toxin weapons, he said.

"Under the U.S. federal act Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism [PATRIOT Act], research in the sphere of the creation of biological weapons is allowed with the U.S. government's authorization. Criminal liability for the development of such weapons does not apply to participants in such research," Kirillov said.

"Additionally, the United States has blocked all international initiatives on the verification of the Convention since 2001, which rules out the possibility of inspection of the work of U.S. laboratories," he said.

In September, Igor Giorgadze said the laboratory located not far from Tbilisi, which works under the aegis of the U.S., might be producing hazardous bacteria and viruses.

Georgia said the work of the biological laboratory is transparent and that Russian specialists could visit it.