Sputnik: On Monday, the Russian military revealed that the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency has been involved in the operation of over 30 biological laboratories across Ukraine, engaged in the storage and research into a variety of deadly agents.
China has called on the United States to clarify the extent of its military biological activities across the planet.
“We once again urge the US side to fully clarify its biological militarization activities at home and abroad,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Liijian told reporters in a briefing Tuesday.
The diplomat suggested that the information publicized by the Russian Defence Ministry Monday about US military biological activities in Ukraine could be just the “tip of the iceberg.”
“The US Department of Defense controls 336 Biolabs across 30 countries under the pretext of joint work to reduce biosecurity risks and strengthen global health. You heard right – 336,” Zhao said.
Washington has also unilaterally rejected international inspections of these facilities, including the Maryland-based Fort Detrick bio lab, the spokesman added.
“What are America’s real intentions? What exactly were they doing?” the spokesman asked.
“For the sake of the health of the people of Ukraine, neighboring regions and beyond, we call on relevant parties to ensure the safety of these laboratories. The United States, as the party with the most information about these facilities, should disclose the relevant data as soon as possible, including about the viruses held there and the nature of research into them,” Zhao stressed.
Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops revealed Monday the existence of a network of over 30 biological laboratories across Ukraine being run by the US military, with some of these facilities feared to have engaged in the production of chemical weapons.
In a briefing, NBC Troops commander Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov said that the United States spent over $200 million on the program, which is divided into monitoring, research, and sanitary-epidemiological work, including the study of potential biological weapons agents with natural foci that can be transmitted to human beings.
The work has reportedly taken place under the purview of the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency, with private contractor Black & Veatch tasked with helping to implement projects.
Citing concrete examples, Kirillov reported on the existence of labs in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv working on infectious agents including plague, anthrax and brucellosis, and labs in the eastern cities of Kharkov and Poltava working with diphtheria, salmonellosis and dysentery.
Between 2020 and 2021, he said, the Pentagon spent $11.8 million on a project known as “Diagnostics, Surveillance and Prevention of Zoonotic Diseases in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
During the same period, the German Defence Ministry was said to have conducted research into Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic disease pathogens, leptospirosis, meningitis, and hantaviruses in Ukraine within the framework of a German-sponsored initiative to ‘ensure the biological security of countries bordering the European Union.
Additionally, the commander said that thousands of serum samples primarily of “Slavic ethnicity” patients had been sent from Ukrainian labs to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland under the pretext of testing for COVID-19 treatment methods.
On Sunday, the Russian military publicized documents obtained from Biolabs from Poltava and Kharkov of instructions by Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko instructing lab workers to destroy a broad range of pathogens including anthrax, plague, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases.
US Biolabs in Ukraine
The United States has been engaged in the construction, modernization, operation and funding of Biolabs on Ukrainian territory since at least 2005. In 2020, Ukrainian opposition lawmakers asked the government to conduct a probe into these facilities, citing a series of inexplicable outbreaks of dangerous diseases between 2009 and 2017.
Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the lawmakers demanding the probe, alleged at the time that the creation of a Level 3 lab storing human pathogens may have been an indication of US plans for experimentation on people. The US dismissed these allegations, and Medvedchuk was put under house arrest in 2021, supposedly over an unrelated matter, and accused of “high treason.” The lawmaker reportedly escaped confinement after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February.
The military special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine coincided in time with the planned launch of American military biological laboratories in Kyiv and Odessa, the Octagon found out. Perhaps this particular launch was the deadline for the Kremlin.
Back in 2017-2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out the danger of developing biological weapons near the borders of the Russian Federation, and also publicly worried about the “purposeful and professional” collection of Russian biomaterials by foreigners.
Then the press actively discussed the possibility of creating a genetic weapon. Genetic technologies in general are a sensitive and topical topic for the president. And these new American-Ukrainian high-tech laboratories specialize in modern biological weapons.
The US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in October 2021 published an additional agreement on “the fight against especially dangerous pathogens” on the US government procurement website. The document concerns the final stage of work on the launch of two biological laboratories – in Kyiv and Odessa. It deals with equipment, staff training and commissioning of facilities.
The cost of the work is 3.6 million dollars, however, a number of figures in the document are hidden for reasons of secrecy. It also reports more than 90% readiness of laboratories and a seven-month delay in completing the project (we highlighted in red) – from the date of signing the document (July 2021) until the end of February 2022:
The laboratories were built in accordance with the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This Pentagon program started in 1991 and is aimed against Russia and the countries of the former USSR. The creation of laboratories was funded under one of the five subprograms – biological (Biological Threat Reduction Program).
Active cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in these areas began after the first Maidan Nezalezhnosti, in 2005.
Two new laboratories are being created on the basis of the Kiev State Research Institute for Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary and Sanitary Expertise and the Odessa branch of the Ukrainian civil service for food safety and consumer protection.
The main part of the Ukrainian collection of endemic strains of pathogens of dangerous diseases is kept in Odessa. The buildings of new biological laboratories in Kyiv and Odessa were built back in 2019, but were not put into operation.
The founder of the project is considered to be the former head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, Uliana Suprun (a US citizen, therefore she worked in the status of acting), who received the nickname “Doctor Death”.
America expands the geography of biological laboratories
The United States is not just working on the creation of biological weapons, they are involving other countries in this process, said Yury Averyanov, First Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Is Washington preparing for a biological war, where objects with deadly viruses are located and whether it is possible to neutralize a potential threat, Octagon tried to understand.
The work under the contract is carried out by an experienced contractor of the US government – the Jacobs group, more precisely, its division CH2M Hill. The need for an additional agreement is justified by additional costs and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The notice makes it clear that this project is important and urgent for the US government: further potential delays are called unacceptable, and “DTRA requires urgent completion and handover of both laboratories in order to ensure the active and safe implementation of the DTRA mission.”
“Both sites are owned and protected by the government of Ukraine, but neither is currently performing active biological work, as DTRA has asked the Ukrainian authorities not to start work until acceptance and completion work is completed,” the procurement materials say.
It also talks about the risk that Ukrainian virologists may begin to operate and modify laboratories without the knowledge of DTRA.
The Americans fear that “theft or damage to equipment” is possible from Kyiv and Odessa. And, indeed, individual excesses have already arisen. In the summer of 2021, an employee of the aforementioned Kiev research institute took a sample of a dangerous virus (Newcastle bird disease) out of the institution and kept it in a regular refrigerator in her own apartment, intending to sell it.
Third world countries become testing grounds for nano weapons
In Russian and Ukrainian media, these laboratories were associated with the development of weapons of mass destruction, but the American embassy called such publications a fake.
The fact is that formally such efforts are aimed at “food safety, consumer protection, as well as the secure storage of pathogens and threatening toxins so that they do not fall into the wrong hands and at the same time peaceful research and vaccine development can be carried out.”
The US is also “helping to develop Ukraine’s ability to detect outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose a threat to national security,” the State Department justified.
According to experts, today in Ukraine there are 15 (according to other sources, at least 16) biological laboratories associated with the US military department. Photo: Steven Tucker/ZUMA/TASS
DTRA (established in 1998 on the basis of the Agency for Special Weapons) is officially engaged in the destruction of nuclear, chemical and other types of weapons of mass destruction, their transportation, storage and decommissioning.
For example, from 1991 to 2012, the United States spent $9 billion on institutions that allow work with strains of viruses and bacteria that are deadly to humans and suitable for use as biological weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The program has numerous critics who point out that it is a cover for obtaining classified information by the Pentagon, and its authors are engaged in nothing more than bioterrorism.
The agreement between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine on bio development was lobbied by Senator Richard Lugar. In 2005-2009, as the WikiLeaks project reported, strong external pressure was exerted on the authorities of the republic. During the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych , activity in this area began to decline but resumed again after the coup in the country at the end of 2013.
According to experts, today in Ukraine there are 15 (according to other sources, at least 16) biological laboratories associated with the US military department. Three are located in Kyiv and Lvov, one each in Odessa, Kherson, Ternopil, Uzhgorod, Vinnitsa, Kharkov and Lugansk, two in Dnepropetrovsk.
In Kharkov, where one of the points of American virologists is located, in 2016, strange deaths of dozens of soldiers from swine flu were recorded. By March, the bill had gone into the hundreds.
In 2019, an epidemic of measles and a disease “ similar in symptoms to the plague ” broke out on the border of the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
The Octagon showed the latest DTRA notice regarding these laboratories to a former member of the UN Commission on Biological Weapons, military expert Igor Nikulin. He explained that US military virologists prefer to conduct all dangerous experiments in third world countries:
– We are talking about cooperation between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the US Department of Defense (Pentagon). An institution like DTRA has very specific military tasks – testing the latest American developments on a specific gene pool – people, animals and plants.
This refers to the creation of biological agents – bacteria and viruses. It is clear that this is the activity of US military virologists, they work in a gray area. The Americans do not conduct such dangerous experiments on their territory, but [do it] where they have good positions, where the authorities are corrupt and under their control. And this document only confirms all this.
Igor Nikulin: “The Secret War of Poisons Continues”
The Octagon talked about the problems of chemical warfare agents with the former adviser to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the problems of biological weapons, military expert Igor Nikulin.
Nikulin believes that the current Russian military special operation could stop the DTRA program in Ukraine:
I hope that due to recent events, these plans will have to be postponed both in Kyiv and Odessa. The documentation states that due to covid, the deadlines for completing work are shifted.
In general, the Americans have already spent more than $2 billion on such programs in Ukraine alone, and there are also Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. All this is very serious.
I hope that during the special operation all this activity will stop and at the same time evidence will be obtained that the United States is violating the 1972 Convention on the Non-Proliferation of Biological Weapons. I very much look forward to it.
The COVID-19 epidemic fueled conspiracy suspicions
Indeed, American activity regarding “biological threats” is not limited to Ukraine. A similar laboratory was set up by the United States in Georgia after Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2004. In addition, DTRA announced related projects in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova. In Armenia, 12 such organizations have been established to study tularemia outbreaks.
Back in the 1980s, American specialists worked out scenarios for a possible biological attack on an enemy city: 16 simultaneous attacks by yellow fever-infected mosquitoes from the ground and air and an attack with a spray of a tularemia pathogen.
Laboratory samples sometimes leak, and in 2012 an anthrax outbreak broke out in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, where one of the laboratories is located. And in Georgia, human trials were carried out using ticks and Asian tiger mosquitoes – carriers of various fevers.
In 2014, a special project Sand Fly (“Sand Fly”) was developed in the republic, and a year later insects attacked Tbilisi and Dagestan. In Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, DTRA studied the transmission of viruses from camels to humans.
Moreover, two years ago, bio laboratories in Armenia, financed by the Pentagon, were engaged in the study of the Armenian genotype. However, in an interview with Octagon, a well-known American drug and vaccine developer from Boston, professor, president of CureLab Oncology, Inc. Alexander Schneider pointed out that it is very difficult to create a genetic bioweapon against Russia because of the heterogeneous composition of the population.
CH2M Hill is a major contractor for such projects in the post-Soviet space. The organization has collaborated with the CIA, biosecurity specialists, anthrax researchers, and virologists to assess the threat of aerosol toxins and Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria (which cause melioidosis in humans and animals), a possible tool for bioterrorism.
According to a military expert, the current Russian military special operation could stop the DTRA program in Ukraine.Photo: Markiian Lyseiko/Ukrinform/ZUMA/TASS
Leaders of various left-wing organizations from around the world have repeatedly spoken out in favor of the elimination of American military biological laboratories, calling them death factories.
One of the petitions states that 1,495 laboratories and facilities of the third degree of protection were created under the Pentagon’s programs alone, which are not accountable to the governments of the countries where they work, and their activities are not transparent.
In such institutions, according to the authors of the appeal, new strains of aggressive killer microbes (offensive killer germs) resistant to vaccines are being created. There are also questions about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, where the Pentagon’s military laboratories were also located, as well as about the strange infection of agricultural plants and animals.
Russia’s Chief Sanitary Doctor Anna Popova also made claims against the Pentagon’s bio laboratories. Speaking to the participants of the meeting of the heads of security councils of the CIS countries in 2019, she drew attention to the outbreaks of previously unknown infections in places where facilities were opened under the control of military virologists from the United States.
And last April, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev admitted that biological weapons could be developed in US military laboratories near the borders of Russia and China.
Indeed, American biologists do not publicly demonstrate any scientific achievements, and the results of their research are not published in open sources.
In Russia, such institutions were closed back in 2012.
Recently, American scientists, together with colleagues from the Pentagon, have been studying coronavirus and other infectious diseases. In January, the organization dedicated a separate video to Russian journalists in response to the criticism.
Washington denies all accusations and states that their goal is to prevent the leakage of microorganism strains into the environment in the states of the post-Soviet space, as well as to minimize the chances of a biological attack on America.
The Ukrainian authorities are also determined and are considering the possibility of using prohibited “special equipment”. As Octagon reported on February 23, the Ukrainian leadership was studying the issue of equipping unmanned aerial vehicles purchased in Turkey with biological and/or chemical weapons.
It asked the manufacturer of the Bayraktar UAV whether it would be possible to place an “aerosol spraying system/mechanism with a capacity of more than 20 liters” on the device.
On February 19, at the annual international security conference in Munich, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country intends to abandon its non-nuclear status, that is, to acquire nuclear weapons.