Washington confirms it is working with Kiev to prevent Russia from accessing the laboratories
US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has confirmed that Washington has been involved in an effort to make sure no “materials” Ukraine keeps in its biolabs end up with the Russian military.
“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned… Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of,” Nuland said on Tuesday as she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We’re working with Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” she added.
The Russian military previously claimed that the Ukrainian authorities have been hastily destroying dangerous materials, including highly pathogenic bacterial and viral agents they allegedly kept in laboratories linked to the Pentagon.
On Monday, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said the documents seen by the Russian military suggest that some of these laboratories worked with anthrax, among other things. Kirillov also claimed that the only reason Kiev reportedly moved to destroy the materials was out of concern that Russian experts “will highly likely prove Ukraine and the US have been in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention,” once they study the samples.
While Moscow has expressed concern over the alleged development of bioweapons in Ukraine, Nuland appeared to preemptively blame Russia for any potential release of hazardous materials amid the ongoing military conflict.
Nuland agreed with Senator Marco Rubio that if a chemical or biological “incident” or “attack”takes place in Ukraine, then Russia would be the culprit.
“There is no doubt in my mind, senator, and it is a classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they’re planning to do themselves,” she said.
Kiev has denied it was designing bioweapons. The Pentagon said speculation about its involvement in these programs in former Soviet states is ‘Russian disinformation’.