The US disputed reiterated Russian charges that it was running biowarfare laboratories in Ukraine on Wednesday, calling the assertions “laughable” and implying that Moscow was preparing to launch a chemical or biological weapon.
Late Tuesday, Russia reiterated its long-standing charge that the US is collaborating with Ukrainian facilities to create biological weapons. Such claims were more common in Russian media in the run-up to Moscow’s military incursion into Ukraine, and were voiced as late as Wednesday by foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
“Russia is fabricating bogus pretexts in an attempt to explain its own horrible actions in Ukraine”, told US State Department spokesperson John Kirby. “Russia has a lengthy and well-documented track record of utilising chemical weapons”, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. According to a former US official acquainted with the cooperation between Kyiv and Washington, the US assisted in the conversion of many Ukrainian laboratories engaged in the old Soviet Union’s biological weapons programme into public health institutes. The Pentagon’s Biological Threat Reduction Program has been collaborating with the Ukrainian government to secure diseases and poisons housed in laboratories.