Russian Defence Ministry briefing on US military and biological activity
June 19, 2023
Briefing by Chief of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection Troops General Lieutenant Igor Kirillov on U.S. military and biological activity
Russian Defence Ministry continues to analyse US and its allies military and biological activity in Ukraine and other regions of the world.
We briefed the audience on US Walter Reed Army Institute of Research activity before. We demonstrated the institute’s role during UP-1 and UP-2 biological programs, during which samples of Ukrainian citizens and Armed Forces of Ukraine servicemen biological material were gathered from 2014 to 2020.
Today, I would like to brief you on the same institute office activity in Thailand. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has four branches all over the world, every one of them has a high-containment laboratory and a network of departments, which gather samples and transport strains.
The branches’ staff numbering around 500 employees indicates the scale of efforts on dangerous pathogens research. That particular branch has offices in Nepal, Cambodia, and the Philippines, which in turn cooperate with 12 more Southeast Asia states
In addition to the US Army Institute, the US Naval Medical Research Center has a network of overseas branches. Its subordinate laboratories (NAMRU) work on pathogens in North Africa, the Middle East, and South America.
Such a comprehensive approach all around the world allows the Pentagon to have access to different strains of contagious pathogens, which can be used as biological weapons chemical agents. These include Marburg and Ebola fevers, malaria, and Rift Valley fever.
Documents acquired during the special military operation prove the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research connection to the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency and its key contractor – the Metabiota company.
Acquired financial and research documentation reflect the company’s activity in Africa, namely in Kenia, Uganda, and the Republic of South Africa.
Along with the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the US National Security Agency, and the Department of State are listed as clients from the American government.
The documents describe flexible methods of the Metabiota activity, which allow to conceal the American government involvement with international programs and resolve bureaucratic issues at the expense of local officials.
At the same time, due to world community’s growing concerns, the Pentagon is forced to change its tactics, when engaging in dual-purpose projects.
We briefed the audience on illegal samples gathering and illegal transportation of the material by the company’s employees during Ebola Fever outbreak in 2014 in West Africa. In 2022, the U.S. President’s administration officially ceased the Metabiota company’s activity in Africa as its illegal methods raised too much concern of the aforementioned states’ governments. A Cameroon’s non-profit organisation assumed the company’s functions and made a statement about Metabiota’s office purchase as a subsidiary company.
In company’s press release dated 14 October 2022. it is stated, that ‘the HEADA non-profit organisation assumes Metabiota programs in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone. The US Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Agency for International Development sponsor the company’s activity…’.
According to Nathan Wolfe, the Metabiota founder, ‘the company assumes functions as the American government sees local capacity localisation and strengthening efforts’.
Such an undercover activity allows to draw concerns from main clients and contractors of military biological programmes.
In recent years, the number of laboratories with BSL-3+ and BSL-4 containment levels in the US themselves has increased significantly.
We stated that at the moment 25 laboratories conduct research and three are under construction. Over the course of few next years, the US plans to establish 18 more BSL-4 containment laboratories, most of which will be located beyond the national jurisdiction.
I would like to brief you on American BSL-3+ laboratories’ activity. On the US soil, there are 18 such laboratories, and unlike BSL-4 research facilities, there is no written demand to declare any results of activity in confidence building measures of the Biological Weapons Convention.
Notably, only 40 per cent of BSL-4 laboratories are property of the US government.
There is almost no control of private laboratories, even though dangerous pathogens are being studied there. One of the most recurrent pathogen at BSL-3+ laboratories is high pathogenic avian influenza virus, which according to experts, can cause the next global outbreak.
In this regard, I would like to inform the audience once again about Kharkov-based Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine involvement in American UP-8 and P-444 programs. This involved studying the migration routes of migratory birds and selecting and transmitting strains of avian influenza virus with high epidemic potential and capable of crossing the interspecies barrier abroad.
The consequences of such programmes for epizootic in the territory of the Russian Federation are yet to be evaluated.
In the result of infected birds migration from Ukraine to Russia, avian influenza morbidity rate has increased significantly. While no cases were recorded in 2015, since the beginning of 2023, 45 outbreaks have been detected, and 21 regions have been declared contaminated.
Moreover, Natural reservoirs and permanent epizootic foci of the disease have been formed on the Russian territory due to the transmission of the pathogen to marine mammals and nonmigratory birds, such as gulls.
We have already drawn your attention to the mass death of birds in Askania Nova Nature Reserve in the Kherson region, caused by a negligent attitude to biosafety requirements.
We continue to analyse an investigation file of incidents at American high-containment laboratories, gathered by the Intercept nonprofit organization.
Only at the University of North Carolina, where genetic engineering research of dangerous pathogen is conducted, from 2015 to 2022, 28 laboratory incidents involving the spread of microbial aerosols, spills of biomaterial, and bites of laboratory animals have been recorded.
For example, in October and November 2015, at least five lab employees were exposed to an aerosol of a modified coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome during two incidents.
In April 2020, as a result of a bite from a laboratory animal infected with a chimeric strain of the COVID-19 pathogen, an employee was quarantined for two weeks.
The materials of the investigation stated that the laboratory’s activities caused a risk of infecting personnel and further spread of genetically modified viral fever pathogens, severe acute respiratory syndrome, highly pathogenic avian influenza, and a number of other infections.
The unacceptably high risk of accidents in U.S. biolaboratories is one of the reasons for their withdrawal from national jurisdiction and transfer to the territory of third countries, including Ukraine and other states. This explains the deterioration of the epidemic situation in their locations, the emergence of diseases that are not typical of these regions and their vectors.
We have already pointed out the skeptical reaction of so-called experts who receive funding in the form of foreign grants and who question the thesis of the influence of insect vectors on the epidemiological situation.
According to WHO’s official information, the last major outbreak of yellow fever in Africa in 2013 was associated with a sharp increase in the number of mosquitoes, which caused a sudden severe inflection of 170,000 people, of which 60,000 died.
In this regard, no wonder that U.S. customers are interested in vector-borne infections. More than 100 studies on the main species of mosquitoes and ticks that carry epidemically significant infections – Rift Valley, West Nile, dengue and Zika – have been published in the open press by research organisations of the U.S. Department of Defense alone.
Many of the diseases being studied, such as Crimean-Congo fever, tick-borne and Japanese encephalitis, do not occur within the United States and pose no threat to the North American continent.
The Pentagon continues efforts to obtain vector populations whose pathogens they do not naturally spread, such as Ebola, hepatitis B, AIDS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome. Mosquito cultures infected with hepatitis B virus have already been obtained.
To enhance the action of arboviruses, U.S. military specialists actively use pathogens of parasitic infections, such as microfilariae.
Five dedicated DOD organisations within the United States and six overseas affiliates conduct vector research efforts. This makes it possible to maintain and infect 89 species of mosquitoes and 12 species of ticks with arboviruses under laboratory conditions. At the same time, software is developed to predict the spread of vector-borne infections (for Rift Valley fever, the forecast is built for 47 species of insect vectors).
Vector research in the United States is of a distinctly military in nature, searching for the optimal conditions under which infected blood-sucking insects and ticks are most effective. At the same time, the U.S. seeks to use the territory of other countries as a testing ground for possible scenarios.
The flooding of Kherson region territories planned by the Kiev regime can worsen the situation and cause arbovirus infections. After the fall of the water level, site of disease may occur, primarily West Nile fever is possible.
The Pentagon’s high level of technical readiness to use infected vectors is evidenced by the patent for an unmanned aerial vehicle designed to spread airborne infected mosquitoes, which we discussed earlier.
According to the description, the drone is supposed to deliver a container of insects to a given area and release them. When bitten, mosquitoes are capable of infecting servicemen with a dangerous infection, such as malaria. The patent description emphasizes that an infected soldier is incapable of performing his tasks and notes that ‘…such a method of infecting the enemy militarily would have considerable effect…’
I would like to mention that the United States reserves the right to conduct dual-purpose research and manage the biological environment for its own benefit under approved bioproduction and counter-biological threat policy documents.
With active support of such activities, the UK declared its own interests in the biological field by adopting a national biological security strategy on 12 June 2023. One of the document’s stated goals is ‘to be a world leader in innovation…’. Funding for activities under the strategy will amount to one and a half billion pounds annually.
Thus, the United States, with the support of its allies, are conducting large-scale military-biological research aimed at finding effective methods of using infectious disease agents. The implementation of such plans makes it possible to form artificial foci of especially dangerous infectious diseases.
We see this as another argument in favour of an international investigation of U.S. military and biological activities.