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Russia calls for vote on unsubstantiated claims of Ukrainian bioweapons


UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday on a resolution that would establish a commission to investigate unfounded Russian allegations that Ukraine and the United States are carrying out “biological military” activities that violate the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons.

Russia distributed a 310-page document to council members last week alleging that this biological activity is taking place in Ukraine with the support of the US Department of Defense. The document included a formal complaint to the Security Council, authorized under Article VI of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, and a draft resolution that would authorize the Security Council to create a commission made up of the 15 council members. to investigate Russia’s allegations.

Russia’s initial allegation of secret US biowarfare labs in Ukraine, made shortly after its smaller neighbor’s February 24 invasion, has been disputed by independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders and White House officials. and the Pentagon. An Associated Press investigation in March found the allegation was taking root online, bringing together COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, QAnon adherents and some supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Ukraine has a network of biological laboratories that have obtained funding and research support from the United States. They are owned and operated by Ukraine and are part of an initiative called the Biological Threat Reduction Program which aims to reduce the likelihood of deadly disease outbreaks, whether natural or natural. created by man. American efforts date back to the 1990s to dismantle the former Soviet Union’s weapons of mass destruction program.

In September, the 197 states parties to the Biological Weapons Convention met at Russia’s request on the activities of biological laboratories in Ukraine, but a final report said it was not possible to reach a consensus.

Diplomats said it was highly unlikely that the Russian draft resolution would pass the Security Council in its vote, scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon. Approval requires a minimum of nine “yes” votes and no vetoes from any of the five permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Russia called a Security Council meeting last Thursday over its claims, which the United States and its Western allies have vehemently rejected.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the meeting a “colossal waste of time” and dismissed Russia’s claim as “pure fabrications produced without a shred of evidence”. She said the claim was part of a “disinformation campaign” by Moscow that tries “to distract from the atrocities that Russian forces are committing in Ukraine and a desperate tactic to justify an unjustifiable war.”

“Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program,” she said. “The United States does not have a biological weapons program. There are no US-backed Ukrainian bioweapons labs.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the US of conducting work in Ukraine on deadly pathogens – including cholera, plague, anthrax and influenza – that could not be justified under covered by public health. He said documents and evidence recovered by Russian authorities suggested a military application.

Nebenzia told the Security Council that the Russian army during his stay in Ukraine had recovered drones capable of spraying bioagents as well as documents which he said related to research on the possibility of the spread of pathogens by bald people. -mice and migratory birds.

Thomas-Greenfield countered that Russia’s claims are “absurd for many reasons, not least because these species, even if they could be weaponized, would pose as much of a threat to the European continent and to Ukraine itself. than they would for any other country”.

Associated Press writer David Klepper contributed to this report.

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