US resumes construction of biolabs in Ukraine: Russian MoD
The Russian MoD says the Pentagon will continue research on bio-objects in Ukraine and other countries due to the vague reaction of the international community.
The US has resumed the program for the construction of biological laboratories in Ukraine and is expanding the format to train Ukrainian biologists, Igor Kirillov, head of the radiation, chemical, and biological defense troops of the Russian Armed Forces, revealed on Friday.
"Despite the forced pause pertaining to the Russian special military operation [in Ukraine], [the US’] activities under the program have now been resumed. The main tasks at this stage are to continue the construction of biological laboratories in Ukraine, as well as expand the format for training Ukrainian biologists," Kirillov told reporters.
According to the Russian official, this conclusion is based on the analysis of the minutes of the meeting of the working group of US and Ukrainian specialists under the leadership of representatives of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) dated October 20, 2022, on the plans for the implementation of the "Biological Threat Reduction Program" in Ukraine.
Read more: US defends Biolabs in Ukraine
'Springboard for NATO troop deployment'
Kirillov indicated that the goals of the US biological programs prove that Washington views former Soviet countries as a springboard for the deployment of NATO forces.
He explained that the Pentagon finances dual-use projects through a system of grants, adding that the distribution of money is entrusted to the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU) and the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).
"The goal of the ISTC bio-threat reduction program is to protect the United States, its military, and allies. This once again confirms that Washington considers former Soviet states as a springboard for the deployment of NATO military units," Kirillov said.
Who is the main organizer of US military biological activities?
The Russian Ministry of Defense believes that the US Department of Energy, along with the Pentagon, is the main organizer of and direct participant in [the US'] military biological activities, Kirillov noted.
The Russian official referred to the statement by the US Department of Energy claiming that the Covid-19 pandemic could have occurred as a result of an accident that leaked the virus from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
"A legitimate question arises — what does the US Department of Energy have to do with combating biological threats and implementing projects that have signs of dual use?" Kirillov added.
Officially, in 2023 alone, the US Department of Energy allocated $105 million for research under the Bio-preparedness Research Virtual Environment project, which is supposed to study the epidemic spread of diseases, he recalled.
Read more: US funded 46 biolabs in Ukraine: Pentagon
Russia adds new names to list of those involved in Pentagon bioresearch
Kirillov revealed new names of participants in the military biological programs from among the citizens of the US and Ukraine.
"Today we are adding to the list of persons involved in the biological research of the Pentagon. Among them is Eliot J. Pearlman, head of the NGO 'International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute' in Kiev, who was directly involved in the creation of a laboratory base for the implementation of military biological research on the territory of Ukraine," Kirillov told a briefing.
The official also named Greg Glass, a professor in the Department of Geography and the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, who was studying the spread of the pathogen tularemia in Ukraine and was involved in the implementation of the UP-8 project (Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever and orthohantavirus in Ukraine).
Another professor, Andrew Pekosz, was also involved as one of the leading consultants in the UP-2 project (application of geoinformation systems, remote monitoring and laboratory diagnostics for the detection of tularemia and anthrax diseases in humans and animals in Ukraine), according to Kirillov.
The Russian official noted that many defendants in the military biological programs left Ukraine, and the US is urgently looking for them to prevent leaks.
Pentagon will continue research on bio-objects in Ukraine
Kirillov considered that the Pentagon will continue research on bio-objects in Ukraine and other countries due to the vague reaction of the international community and the fear of arguing with Washington.
"The plans of the Pentagon to continue dual-use research at Ukrainian bio-objects and in other countries of the world with a change in the name of the program is the result of a vague reaction of the world community due to the fear of a number of countries to confront the US authorities," he underscored.
US biolabs endanger third countries
In the same context, the Russian official warned that there is a risk of the spread of dangerous pathogens in the areas of foreign biological laboratories controlled by the United States.
"The US has never been clear about its commitment to the safety of research in biolabs it controls. The non-transparency of their activities creates the risk of the spread of dangerous pathogens in the areas where biological objects are located," Kirillov pointed out.
"At the same time, the placement of biological objects in third countries does not take into account the interests of the local population and poses a serious threat to entire regions," he said.
Military-biological properties of Covid-19 could be boosted artificially
Separately, Kirillov said each new strain of the coronavirus had improved military-biological properties, which may indicate an artificial increase in its pathogenicity.
Experts still have a number of questions related to "strange for most viruses" variability and geographical origin of COVID-19 variants, the official said, adding that "at the same time, each new variant had improved properties in terms of their military-biological application, causing more and more economic damage."
"It seems that someone is taking targeted actions to enhance the pathogenic properties of the virus, and the pandemic is artificially fueled by the introduction of new, 'improved' variants. So far, these questions remain unanswered," he noted.
Washington failed to deactivate biolabs in Ukraine
Last month, Kirillov told reporters that Washington failed to deactivate biolabs in Ukraine before the start of the war, despite claims by US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby.
The Russian official indicated that "the US authorities contradict themselves in their statements regarding the work of US biological laboratories in Ukraine."
"In his statement dated January 31, 2023, the representative of the US National Security Council, John Kirby, confirmed the presence of US biological laboratories in Ukraine, while indicating that they were abandoned by personnel and ... 'deactivated' before the start of the special military operation. However, the documents we received deny Kirby's statement," he noted.
He also revealed at the time that Moscow has information that the US has been developing mRNA vaccines that cause concomitant diseases and serious complications at the expense of the US Department of the Treasury since 2017.
"According to available information, the development of vaccines of this type [mRNA vaccines] has been funded by the US state budget since 2017, and by the time commercially available drugs appeared, it was clear that they could cause the development of concomitant diseases and serious complications," Kirillov told reporters.
Since the start of the war, Russia has discovered a network of more than 30 biological laboratories in Ukraine. According to Kirillov, the Pentagon has been running secret biolabs in Ukraine for years, researching highly dangerous pathogens and exporting biological samples in breach of the Biological Weapons Convention.