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‘No offensive biologic weapons’ in Ukrainian biolabs US assisted, Pentagon says

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/1/2022 Mike Brest
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There are no “offensive biologic weapons” in any of the dozens of biological labs in Ukraine that the United States has partnered with on safety precautions.

The U.S. has since 2005 worked with Ukrainian officials on how to implement additional safety procedures in 44 labs, which had previously been used for the former Soviet Union's illegal biological weapons program. These facilities have gained outsize significance recently amid a Russian disinformation campaign claiming that the U.S. is working with Ukraine to develop biological weapons, which the Biden administration has forcefully denied.

Deborah Rosenbaum, the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs, told the House subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations on Friday that “I can say to you unequivocally there are no offensive biologic weapons in the Ukraine laboratories that the United States has been involved with.”

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“The department remains very concerned about the ability to get accurate and transparent information out to the U.S. public, as well as certainly our allies and the rest of the world,” she said. “So one of the things that the department has been doing — and this is particularly related to the public health laboratories in Ukraine that is being tragically used by the Russians as a potential for a false flag operation — from the White House on down to the Defense Department, as well as Department of State, as well as all of the vehicles that we have to be able to communicate accurate information out about this and the work that has been underway.”

The Department of Defense said in the fact sheet released last month that the Ukrainian Ministry of Health ordered the secure disposal of samples and other actions that would “limit the danger of an accidental release of pathogens should Russia’s military attack laboratories, a real concern since they have attacked Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and research facilities.”

Additionally, the World Health Organizationstrongly recommended” the Ministry of Health in Ukraine to “destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills.”

A senior defense official told reporters last month that the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which is the DOD agency that is working with the Ukrainians on these labs, “trains partner nation laboratory technicians” and has “never supported the permanent presence of any personnel in an overseas laboratory.”

There are two additional biolabs in Ukraine that have been under Russian control since they annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

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"Neither the United States or the sovereign Government of Ukraine has any knowledge and/or cognizance about the status of or activities conducted in the labs mentioned in the first question," a U.S. official told the Washington Examiner. "There is no confirmed information about any of the remaining facilities being seized as of this date."

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed that "evidence of the Kyiv regime’s hasty measures to conceal any traces of the military biological program finance by the U.S. Department of Defense in Ukraine has been revealed,” whereas Pentagon spokesman John Kirby called the claims "a bunch of malarkey" and "classic Russian propaganda."

 

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Tags: News, Foreign Policy, National Security, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, War in Ukraine

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: ‘No offensive biologic weapons’ in Ukrainian biolabs US assisted, Pentagon says

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