Yesterday, on March 9th, the Biden administration publicly gave a warning that Russia might look to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. This comes as Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier on Wednesday had said that Russia had documents showing the Ukrainian health ministry had allegedly ordered the destruction of samples of plague, cholera, anthrax and other pathogens before February 24, when Russian forces moved into Ukraine. Claiming this was proof Ukraine was trying to destroy evidence of Pentagon chem/bio weapon labs. She continued: “It can be concluded that components of biological weapons were being developed in Ukrainian biolabs located in close vicinity of our border,” “The emergency destruction of dangerous pathogens on February 24 was a necessary step aimed at concealing the fact that Ukraine and the US had violated Article 1 of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.” She provided no further details on the documents. Jen Psaki, White house spokeswoman responded:
This is preposterous. It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) March 9, 2022
Dmitry Chumakov, Russian deputy U.N. ambassador, echoed the same claim, asking for Western media to cover “the news about secret biological laboratories in Ukraine.” When asked about the claims, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “At this point have no information to confirm these reports or these allegations about these kinds of labs.” “Our colleagues at the World Health Organization, who have been working with the Ukrainian Governments, said they are unaware of any activity on the part of the Ukrainian Government which is inconsistent with its international treaty obligations, including on chemical weapons or biological weapons,”
This all comes as today reportedly the U.S now believes Russian will use this claim of U.S-Ukraine chem/bio labs to use their own.
It's not clear that Russia has brought these weapons into the country to use against Ukraine YET, officials said.
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) March 10, 2022
This comes from Jack Detsch, a national security reporter at Foreign Policy bringing coverage from the Pentagon, who quoted a Senior U.S Defense official. Meanwhile the Chinese Foreign Ministry decided to chime in as well regarding the situation.
Chinese Foreign Ministry: "The US has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone. It should give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification."pic.twitter.com/SP4lBq83Um
— ? ? CAO Yi ??? ???? (@CaoYi_MFA) March 8, 2022
AP reported that Filippa Lentzos, senior lecturer in science and international security at King’s College London, said there are no “U.S. labs” in Ukraine. Instead that there are labs in the country that have received money through a U.S. Defense Department threat reduction program. “These are public and animal health facilities that are owned and operated by Ukraine,” These laboratories have, in the past, gotten support from the U.S, EU and the WHO. Moreover, the Pentagon’s Biological Threat Reduction Program has also been working with the Ukrainian government to ensure the security of pathogens and toxins stored in the laboratories some have been around since Soviet era. AP also reported that Russia has a long history of spreading disinformation about U.S. biological weapons research, using the 1980s hoax spread by Russian intel about the conspiracy theory that the U.S. created HIV in a lab as an example. Code name: Operation INFEKTION it was an incredibly successful misinformation campaign, in 1992, 15% of Americans considered it definitely or probably true that “the AIDS virus was created deliberately in a government laboratory” (Studies in Intelligence). In 2005, a study by the RAND Corporation and Oregon State University revealed that nearly 50% of African Americans thought AIDS was man-made, over 25% believed AIDS was a product of a government laboratory, 12% believed it was created and spread by the CIA, and 15% believed that AIDS was a form of genocide against black people (Studies in Intelligence). AP continued on to cite other claims by Russian state media that have spread theories about dangerous research at labs in Ukraine and Georgia.