US funded 46 biolabs in Ukraine: Pentagon
The United States insists that the 46 “peaceful” facilities were all about public health and safety.
The US government supported 46 biological research facilities in Ukraine for the past 20 years, revealed the Pentagon on Thursday.
On that note, the US military accused Russia and China of "spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust" about its efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
In a document titled 'Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts,' the US Department of Defense for the first time revealed the specific number of facilities its government has sponsored in Ukraine.
The Pentagon claimed that these facilities were part of a peaceful public health project and were not focused on developing biological weapons, saying that the US has “worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health,” by providing support to “46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.”
These programs are supposed to have focused on “improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.”
The Pentagon insisted that the work of these biolabs was "often" carried out in collaboration with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and that it was "consistent with international best practices and norms in publishing research results, partnering with international colleagues and multilateral organizations, and widely disseminating their research and public health findings."
Only three laboratories in Ukraine possessed the required safety requirements to conduct the type of studies the Pentagon claimed to be engaged in, according to the Russian military. Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, the head of the Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces, referenced Ukrainian government sources to point to a number of difficulties at one of those sites in Odessa, as an example.
The Russian military presented evidence of the Pentagon's involvement in funding laboratories in Ukraine in March. In early May, Kirillov accused Ukraine of launching a biological attack against the breakaway region of Lugansk and of conducting "inhumane experiments" on Ukrainian patients. Further evidence suggested attempts to weaponize drones to disperse pathogens, and attempts to destroy compromising materials after the Russian military operation began in February.
Russia’s Investigative Committee concluded that the US has poured more than $224 million into biological research in Ukraine between 2005 and early 2022. Moscow added that Western pharmaceutical giants, nonprofits and even the US Democratic Party all took part in the scheme.
Despite evidence pointing otherwise, the US alleged that it had "full approval" from the Russian government to employ "thousands of former Russian biological weapons scientists to conduct peaceful biological research projects for public health purposes."
The US military states elsewhere in the memo that it is attempting to provide "sustainable civilian employment” for scientists with “weapons-related knowledge” in order to “remove incentives to seek or accept of terrorist or other state actor employment and financing.”
US involvement with biological laboratories in Ukraine “remain peaceful efforts to improve nuclear and radiological safety and security, disease surveillance, chemical safety and security, and readiness to respond to epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19,” the Pentagon said.
Meanwhile, it accused Russia of seeking “to undermine that work by spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust in the people and institutions all over the world that contribute to WMD threat reduction.”