Ukraine’s Biolabs: Threat to Russia or Russia’s Baseless Worry?
Friday, April 1, 2022
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst.
Although biological warfare is prohibited under international humanitarian law and several international treaties, the presence of US-funded “biological research facilities” in Ukraine, as the US State Department officially describes them, raises serious concerns of possible use of these banned pathogens. This raises the question on whether these biolabs are a threat to Russia or Russian disinformation.
The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) banned the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological weapons. Thus, any misuse of dangerous biological agents and pathogens is universally considered a war crime.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, which claims it has come into the possession of original documents from these “biological research facilities”, the US government has provided funding for laboratories in the cities of Kiev, Odessa, Lvov and Kharkov that are officially run by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Documents which have already been investigated show that at least $32 million were invested in these “research facilities”, although actual funding is suspected to be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars.
A document dated to March 6, 2015 reportedly confirms the participation of the Pentagon in the “financing of bioweapons projects” in at least 30 laboratories all across Ukraine.
Existence of actual biological research facilities is not worrying per se, since most countries operate such laboratories, including in other countries, especially those which are known as possible epidemic hotspots. However, these facilities are exclusively run by the official public health institutions of various countries and international organizations.
In Ukraine however, the claimed “biological research facilities” are run by the military (officially by the Armed Forces of Ukraine) and financed by the Pentagon. As far as we are aware, public health does not come under the jurisdiction of armed forces, because this duty is relegated to public health authorities. Thus, the findings should raise serious concerns for all of Ukraine’s neighbors and not only Russia, as they can be directly exposed to any pathogen leaks.
It should be noted that for over two years, the planet has suffered tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Minimizing the risk of future pandemics is a top priority as the repercussions of simultaneous health crises could lead to unprecedented devastation.
For their part, US government officials are adamant that the “biological research facilities” were used only for “research and defensive purposes” and that Russia is “engaged in disinformation“. However, at the same time, the officials “expressed concern” that Russia “might use these biological materials to cause harm to civilians”. It stands to reason that such statements are extremely worrying because if the “biological materials” do not pose a hazard to civilians when in US or Ukrainian hands, shouldn’t the same be true for Russia and other neighboring countries?
This suggests that US officials aren’t truthful in their disclosure of the actual purpose of these “biological research facilities”. Although the US remains disingenuous about the purpose of these laboratories, it is none-the-less disturbing and dangerous that these biolabs are placed so close to Russia’s borders. It gives a strong impression that whatever research is occurring in the biolabs, it is at least partially with aims of being hostile to Russia.
As noted, according to established practice, when projects in the field of sanitary and epidemiological research are conducted in other countries, actual research facilities are financed through national health authorities of the respective countries or by another interested party or organization. In this regard, public health institutions are required to inform the public of the research being conducted in such facilities. However, this was not the case for the Ukrainian “biological research facilities”.
According to respected Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, Ukrainian facilities were off limits, even to Ukrainian authorities, unless a special US permit was acquired. Gaytandzhieva noted that “Ukraine rejected proposals for public control of Pentagon-funded biolabs.”
“While Pentagon contractors were given full access to all biolabs involved in the DTRA program, independent experts were denied such access under the pretext that these biolabs were working with especially dangerous pathogens. According to a leaked letter, Ukraine’s Ministry of Health denied experts from the scientific journal ‘Problems of innovation and investment development’ access to the Pentagon-funded biolaboratories. The ministry rejected the proposal made by the scientific journal and did not allow independent public control group of experts to supervise these biolaboratories”, Gaytandzhieva claims.
Even in the case that these “biological research facilities” are as harmless as the US and its allies claim, it does not negate the fact that international experts are prohibited from visiting and confirming US claims. The US still refuses to declassify and provide relevant information on the nature of these “biological research facilities”, which are estimated to number at least 336 laboratories around the globe. One can’t just help but think that the US is trying to engage in a major coverup.
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