Accusations fly in UN Security Council meeting on bio labs in Ukraine
By Javier Otazu
United Nations, Mar 11 (EFE).- Russia said in a UN Security Council meeting here Friday that the United States has been developing a biological weapons program in Ukraine, an accusation the US dismissed as an attempt by Moscow to fabricate allegations with the aim of carrying out further violent attacks on that neighboring country.
Russia, one of five permanent Security Council members along with the US, China, France and the United Kingdom, had called for an emergency meeting on the matter on Thursday night.
Moscow’s move followed a series of Security Council and UN General Assembly sessions in recent weeks in which the vast majority of countries condemned its invasion of Ukraine, a military operation that began on Feb. 24 and is ongoing.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, presented the Security Council with what he said was just a small portion of the ample evidence of the US Defense Department’s alleged development of a biological weapons program in Ukraine.
Such a program would be in violation of the global Biological Weapons Convention that took effect in 1975.
He accused the Pentagon of carrying out that program at 30 laboratories in Ukraine through agreements with that nation’s Health Ministry.
In some cases, “very dangerous biological experiments” were carried out in very close proximity to Ukraine’s border with Russia, according to Nebenzya, who said the US had funded bioweapons research involving the potential spread of dangerous pathogens using three types of vectors: migratory birds, bats and invertebrate animals like lice and fleas.
He cited by way of example the “transfer of 141 containers of bat ectoparasites” overseas from a biolaboratory in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, adding that proper international controls were not in place and that their possible spread across Europe has not been ruled out.
Nebenzya said that evidence showed the US was in a certain sense relocating high-risk experiments from its own territory to Ukraine.
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda-Thomas Greenfield, fired back, saying that all activities carried out by her country in Ukraine are transparent.
“This is work that has been done proudly, clearly and out in the open. This work has everything to do with protecting the health of people. It has absolutely nothing to do with biological weapons,” she said.
The diplomat said Moscow had come to the UN with the purpose of fabricating “allegations about chemical or biological weapons to justify its own violent attacks against the Ukrainian people.”
“The intent behind these lies seems clear, and is deeply troubling,” she said. “We believe Russia could use chemical or biological agents for assassinations, as part of a staged or false-flag incident or to support tactical military operations,” she added.
China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, said for his part that “the concerns raised by Russia should be properly addressed.”
He went on to say that the US has “356 laboratories worldwide that they say are transparent” and called for access to be granted to be able to “reach our own conclusions.” EFE