Russia Claims Pentagon ‘Biological War Labs’ Developing ‘Pathogens’ in Ukraine

In this handout photo released by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia will continue its “military operation” in Ukraine even if a peace deal is made until the process of “demilitarization” and “de-Nazification” is completed to Moscow’s satisfaction and Ukraine is stripped of weapons of mass destruction – including chemical and biological weapons he accused the United States of developing on Ukrainian soil.

“Demilitarization, in the sense of destroying the military infrastructure that threatens us, will be brought to an end, even if we sign a peace agreement. It will necessarily have to include such a clause,” Lavrov said from Moscow in an internationally televised interview.

Lavrov began with a rambling speech about the U.S. supposedly using Ukraine in a bid to conquer Europe, similar to those of Napoleon and Hitler, and claimed Russia was invading Ukraine with murderous force to liberate Ukrainians from American and European Union domination so they could chart their own destiny.

Lavrov insisted Russia is acting with care and responsibility according to strict “protocols” regarding nuclear weapons, while “erratic” Ukrainian, NATO, and American officials make irresponsible nuclear threats.

“It is in the minds of the Western politicians that they keep returning to nuclear war,” he said. “It’s not in our minds, so we will not allow any provocations to take us out of equilibrium.”

“We have data that the Pentagon is preoccupied with chemical and biological installations in Ukraine. The Pentagon built two biological war labs, and they have been developing pathogens there, in Kyiv and in Odessa. Now they are concerned that they may lose control over these labs,” Lavrov charged.

“Americans declined, flatly and resolutely, to start an inspection mechanism as part of the prohibition of chemical weapons, and they build new chemical and biological facilities all across the Russian borders,” he said.

It should be noted that most of the foreign journalists asking questions in the interview were openly incredulous of Lavrov’s statements, and several of them flatly accused him of lying and covering up Russian war crimes. The notable exception was the much friendlier journalist from China.

Russia has been spreading wild claims of American biological warfare labs in Ukraine for several years. Those claims were eagerly boosted by Chinese state media, which mixed them with Beijing’s deranged conspiracy theory about the Wuhan coronavirus originating in a U.S. Army lab in Maryland.

On Thursday, the same day Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on Ukraine, Russian propaganda outlets circulated a map purportedly showing dozens of secret American labs across Ukraine, with 11 of them already targeted and destroyed by Russian missiles.

International media organizations debunked the Russian claims and noted Russia has been running disinformation campaigns accusing the U.S. of manufacturing chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine for years. The Russian tale was fabricated out of an agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine to modernize Ukrainian virology labs, some of which are dedicated to defense against weaponized pathogens.

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine debunked a Russian disinformation campaign about the biological laboratories in April 2020, providing documentation that showed the laboratories in question are operated by the Ukrainian government in partnership with the U.S. Biological Threat Reduction Program, carefully monitored for safety, and dedicated to “peaceful research and vaccine development.”

Russian loyalists in the Ukrainian political opposition nevertheless seized on the “bioweapons laboratory” disinformation campaign in the spring of 2020, theatrically amplifying the controversy with demands for the Ukrainian government to hand over documents on the “instances of illegal cooperation between Ukraine and the United States concerning the activity of U.S. biolaboratories in our country.”

Chief among the pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine to push the “Pentagon bio-labs” campaign was Viktor Medvedchuk, who is now the odds-on favorite to be installed as leader of Ukraine if Russia is able to remove the elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Medvedchuk is an oligarch with extensive Russian business interests who named Putin as the godfather of his daughter, making him a reliable choice to run Ukraine as a Russian vassal state. He is currently under house arrest in the suburbs of Kyiv on treason charges for backing pro-Russian separatist forces in the eastern Donbas region.


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