U.S. Funded Ukrainian Biolabs Working With Dangerous Pathogens

Recently resurfaced reports and admissions of high-profile U.S. officials suggest the United States could have been involved in research of deadly pathogens in Ukrainian biological laboratories.

Answering a question on whether Ukraine “has biological or chemical weapons,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing Tuesday,

Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.

The extent of U.S. involvement with Ukrainian labs that allegedly worked on biological weapons development is unclear, and it seems likely the U.S. government is not being fully transparent about it.

On February 25, the second day Russia was bombing Ukrainian military infrastructure, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine deleted all of its bioweapon lab documents from the official website, according to a News Punch report.

“In the last 24 hours, all PDF files from the embassy website were removed without any explanation,” per the outlet.

The outlet, however, said some of the documents were archived. They show that the U.S. Department of Defense spent millions of American taxpayer dollars on unnamed projects run by biological laboratories throughout Ukraine. The beneficiary and executive agent of the projects were either the State Committee of Veterinary Medicine of Ukraine (now the State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service of Ukraine) or the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

According to the archived webpage of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, the United States partnered with Ukraine on the DOD’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP). The goal of the program was said to be “to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental, or natural) of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases.”

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A few of the viruses these labs were working with as a part of the BRTP included swine flu, avian flu, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, and hantavirus.

The same day Nuland shared her worries with the senators, The National Pulse reported that it unearthed a since-deleted 2010 article revealing that then-Senator Barack Obama had been involved in setting up a level-3 biosafety laboratory in Odessa, Ukraine, since 2005. The lab was tasked with “handling ‘especially dangerous pathogens’ in Ukraine,” per the outlet.

The article reads,

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar applauded the opening of the Interim Central Reference Laboratory in Odessa, Ukraine, this week, announcing that it will be instrumental in researching dangerous pathogens used by bioterrorists.

The level-3 bio-safety lab, which is the first built under the expanded authority of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, will be used to study anthrax, tularemia and Q fever as well as other dangerous pathogens.

As noted by The National Pulse, the lab in question was referenced in a 2011 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories, describing how the Odessa-based lab “is responsible for the identification of especially dangerous biological pathogens.”

“The collaboration [between the United States and Ukraine] focuses on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons,” added the report.

The report also mentions other laboratories which the United States collaborated with. One of them handled “especially dangerous infections of bacterial etiology,” but was operated at the biosafety level 2.

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There also was a third laboratory belonging to the Central Sanitary Epidemiological Station of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which worked with the United States and was also “intended for work with especially dangerous infections.”

According to that report, it appears that those three labs could work with pathogens of the so-called first pathogenic group (the most dangerous ones), while 402 laboratories in Ukraine were permitted to work with the so-called second pathogenic group.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on her Telegram account that “the Kiev regime was found to have been concealing traces of a military biological programme implemented with funding from the United States Department of Defense.”

She added that through employees of the Ukrainian biolabs, Russia obtained documentation “on the urgent eradication of highly hazardous pathogens of plague, anthrax, rabbit-fever, cholera and other lethal diseases.”

Zakharova further claimed that Ukraine was developing “components of biological weapons,” and accused the United States and Ukraine of violating Article I of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which forbids the development, production, or retention of biological weapons and their components.

The statement came almost simultaneously with a call from China urging the United States to “disclose details on US-financed biological labs in Ukraine, including types of viruses stored and research has been conducted.”

As reported by LifeSite News, the presence of U.S.-assisted bio-labs in Ukraine has been a topic of hot debate since Russia’s invasion that started on February 24. According to the outlet,

A March 2 fact check article strongly denied the existence of any U.S. owned bio-weapons labs in Ukraine, but did not deny a U.S. collaboration with Ukraine in running and funding “public health, animal health, and food safety labs.”

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Additional fact check articles stated that “there are no US-run biolabs in Ukraine,” while not rejecting wider U.S. collaboration with Ukraine in such laboratories.

As observed by Red Voice Media, the legacy media has refused to investigate American involvement with Ukrainian biolabs. “USA TodayPolitiFactMSN, and others have stated that reports of the biolabs are part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.” Twitter has suspended accounts of those asking questions the platform deems “incorrect,” reported the outlet.

* Veronika Kyrylenko, Ph.D. is a linguist and a writer whose work has appeared at the Western Journal, American Thinker, The Hill and other publications. GETTR: @vkyrylenko LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nkyrylenko/

Published at thenewamerican.com

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