Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 10, 2022
One of the biggest stories to emerge from the war in Ukraine is the confusion in Washington, D.C. about a facility in Odessa said to have ties both with the United States and bioweapons research.
After reports in U.S. alternative media, China and Russia about U.S. involvement in the Ukraine-based biolab, the controversy opened a new front in the war.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Moscow’s claims that the U.S. is building bioweapons labs in Ukraine “preposterous propaganda.”
Psaki said: “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern.”
The Kremlin shot back on Thursday, claiming Russia had obtained documents detailing U.S. military-biological activities in Ukraine including experiments with “coronavirus samples”.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a televised briefing that “the purpose of this — and other Pentagon-funded biological research in Ukraine — was to establish a mechanism for the stealthy spread of deadly pathogens.”
Konashenkov said Washington “planned to carry out research on bird, bat and reptile pathogens,” as well as on African swine fever and anthrax. He added: “Biolaboratories set up and funded in Ukraine have been experimenting with bat coronavirus samples.”
The issue surfaced Tuesday when in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government is concerned about biological research facilities in Ukraine falling into the hands of Russian invaders.
Related: Report: Deleted web page documented Obama role in Ukraine site linked to bioweapons research, March 9, 2022
“We are now in fact quite concerned that Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to, uh, gain control of [those labs], so we are working with the Ukrainiahhhns [sic] on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” Nuland said.
Also on Tuesday, National Pulse reported on the recovery of an article, that had been deleted from the Internet, about a partnership with Ukrainian officials that involved the level 3 biosafety lab and former U.S. senators Richard Lugar and Barack Obama.
“This laboratory was reconstructed and technically updated up to the BSL-3 level through a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Defense and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that started in 2005. The collaboration focuses on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons, ” according to a 2011 report by U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby apparently also did not get the memo on Nuland’s testimony:
Pentagon spox John Kirby calls Russia’s accusations that Ukraine and the United States were developing bio-weapons “absurd” and “laughable,” adding that it’s “classic Russian propaganda.” pic.twitter.com/bNSvzdp4AS
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 9, 2022
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Tuesday: “U.S. biolabs in Ukraine have indeed attracted much attention recently. All dangerous pathogens in Ukraine must be stored in these labs and all research activities are led by the U.S. side.”