7 Mar 2022 16:57

Ukraine, U.S. could have breached Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) - Thirty bio laboratories that worked with dangerous infection agents are working on the territory of Ukraine under joint programs with the Pentagon, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"According to our data, biological programs are being urgently wound up. The analyzed documents confirm that the Ukrainian Health Ministry has set the task of fully destroying the biological agents located in the laboratories from February 24," Igor Kirillov, the head of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, said on Monday.

"The analysis of the acts of destruction shows that work was done with plague, anthrax and brucellosis agents in the Lviv bio laboratory and with diphtheria, salmonellosis and dysentery agents in laboratories in Kharkiv and Poltava," Kirillov said.

"The curators from the Pentagon understand that, if these collection falls into the hands of Russian experts, then violation by Ukraine and the United States of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention will be confirmed with a high degree of probability. Namely, work to reinforce the pathogenic properties of microorganisms using synthetic biology methods," Kirillov said.

"Two hundred thirty-two containers with a leptospirosis agent, 30 with tularemia, 10 with brucellosis and five with plague were destroyed in Lviv alone. In total more than 320 containers. The nomenclature and excessive amount of biopathogens indicate work done under military-biological programs," Kirillov said.

The work done in the 30 bio laboratories on the territory of Ukraine was ordered by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, he said.

"The work was done on three main tracks. In the first place, it's monitoring of the biological situation, as the Pentagon says, in the presumed areas of placement of the military contingents of the NATO states. Secondly, collection and export to the U.S. of strains of dangerous microorganisms. The third track is research work to study potential biological weapons agents specific to these regions, which have natural hotspots and can be transmitted to humans," the Russian Defense Ministry official said.

"The Pentagon has implemented a project to diagnose, monitor and prevent zoonotic diseases in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the volume of funding of $11.8 million, since 2021," Kirillov said.

"In 2020-2021, the German Ministry of Defense studied agents of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis, meningitis, and hanta viruses on the territory of Ukraine under a Ukrainian-German initiative to ensure biological safety on the external borders of the European Union," he said.

"Several thousands of samples serums of patients, in particular, those belonging to the Slavic ethnos, were taken out of Ukraine to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research of the U.S. Ground Forces under the pretext of tests of methods of treatment and prevention of coronavirus," Kirillov said.