Politics

Zelenskyy rebuffs Moscow’s biological weapons claims ahead of UNSC meeting

(Update 1: Adds comment from Zelenskyy, Johnson, new headline and lede, minor edits)

International Desk, Mar 11 (EFE).- Ukraine’s president on Friday rebuffed Russian accusations of “chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction” in his country, ahead of the United Nations Security Council meeting called by Moscow to discuss its claims.

The UNSC is to meet at 10 am (15:00 GMT) on Friday to discuss Russia’s claims of “military biological activities of the US on the territory of Ukraine,” which Washington has warned Moscow could use as a false-flag operation.

“Allegedly, we are preparing a chemical attack. This makes me really worried, because we’ve been repeatedly convinced: if you want to know Russia’s plans, look at what Russia accuses others of,” President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said in a video statement at the start of the 16th day of the invasion.

He added that “no chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction were developed on my land. The whole world knows that,” and warned Moscow that “if you do something like that against us, you will get the most severe sanctions response.”

“(Our) laboratories, most of which have remained since Soviet times (…) are engaged in ordinary science. Ordinary. Not military technology,” he said.

In recent days, the Russian government has claimed that it has discovered evidence in Ukraine of the “emergency destruction” of alleged US biological weapons laboratories.

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed that on Feb. 24 employees of these laboratories allegedly reported the destruction of pathogens such as plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases.

Ukranian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that “the manic obsession with which various Russian officials fantasize about non-existent biological or chemical weapons or hazards in Ukraine is deeply troubling and may actually point at Russia preparing another horrific false flag operation. This tweet is for the record.”

On Wednesday the UN said that it has no record of the existence of illegal chemical and biological weapons programs in Ukraine, and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the accusations “preposterous.”

Psaki also warned that Russia may be planning to use its accusations as a false-flag operation to itself use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.

On Thursday Psaki added that Russia has “a large biological and chemical weapons program” and a history of “inventing outright lies.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said Thursday that Russia could fabricate an excuse to justify the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.

“The stuff that you’re hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of their playbook,” he told Sky News.

“They start saying that there are chemical weapons that have been stored by their opponents or by the Americans. And so when they themselves deploy chemical weapons, as I fear they may, they have a sort of maskirovka – a fake story – ready to go,” Johnson said.

“You’ve seen it in Syria. You saw it even in the UK. That’s what they’re already doing. It is a cynical, barbaric government.” EFE

int-lab/tw

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