Friday, March 18, 2022

Russia: US Outsourced Dangerous Infections Studies to Other Countries


Russia: US Outsourced Dangerous Infections Studies to Other Countries

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia suspects Pentagon-funded bioresearch laboratories in foreign nations, including those in Ukraine, may pose a threat because of the secrecy surrounding their work, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT.

Washington apparently didn’t want to risk exposing its own people to the pathogenic threat, he suggested.

“The Americans some years ago decided that it was too dangerous to do [such research] on their own soil. So, they moved all these threatening and dangerous activities to other countries,” Lavrov claimed.

“More and more they concentrate their research and experiments around the borders of the Russian Federation and China,” he remarked.

Lavrov was referring to biolabs funded by the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the existence of which was highlighted during Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The Russian military claims it has discovered evidence that the work in Ukrainian labs funded by the US Department of Defense had military applications.

Washington has denied the claims, which had reiterated Russia’s previous suspicions about research undertaken on foreign territory in return for American grants. The US government announced the labs existed to study emerging infections throughout the world and served as an epidemic early warning system.

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland last week testified under oath that there were “biological research facilities in Ukraine”, and that Washington was assisting Kiev in destroying research materials so they would not get into Russia’s hands.

In his interview with RT, Lavrov said that, in his assessment, there were more than 300 biolabs worldwide involved in research for the Pentagon. Such facilities should be subject to international monitoring for compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention, which bans any work related to germ warfare. There is no verification mechanism for the treaty – a lapse Moscow wants addressed, Lavrov added.

The UN Security Council is to convene later on Friday at Russia’s request to discuss a legally binding protocol to the convention, “which would require obligatory transparency measures by any participating state”, the minister noted. The US stonewalled attempts to implement such a protocol throughout the 1990s before blocking it in 2001, therefore “the Americans … will be against it,” Lavrov predicted, branding the obstruction “not defensible”.

Beijing has previously supported calls for greater transparency about American bioresearch, arguing that Washington would have nothing to hide if all work carried out in foreign labs was as benign as it claimed.

The West will continue to impose sanctions on Russia but Moscow is used to it, Lavrov said.

"The sanctions drive is going to continue and they are threatening the fifth wave. Maybe there will be another wave but we are used to it," he noted.

"As President Vladimir Putin recalled, we are now champions in the number of sanctions introduced against the Russian Federation, more than 5,000 individual acts, almost twice as many as was introduced against Iran and North Korea. But sanctions always made us stronger," Lavrov pointed out.

According to Lavrov, the West continues to wage an "information war" against Russia, trying to present one side of the story behind the Ukrainian conflict.

The West's intention is to marginalise Russia, the top diplomat added, using its unprecedented pressure to curb Russia's development. Yet, even in the face of the massive waves of sanctions, Russia will work out the measures to respond and keep improving the country.

"I must say that sanctions have always only strengthened us," Lavrov noted.

"Now the illusion that we can count on Western partners has been shattered. Now we can only rely on ourselves and those allies who will stay with us," the foreign minister continued.

Russia is seeking security guarantees that will be common for Moscow, Kiev, and all of Europe, Lavrov underlined.

"The goal is to demilitarise Ukraine so that such a threat does not come from Ukrainian territory, as well as to obtain security guarantees that will be based on the principle of indivisible common security for Ukraine, for Russia, for all European countries, we have been proposing this for many years," the top Russian diplomat underscored.

He expressed hope that the current "abnormal" situation between Russia and Ukraine will be resolved, but warned that the West is going to prevent this from happening.

"I am sure that the historical closeness of the two fraternal peoples will prevail", Lavrov stressed.

His interview comes amid the ongoing Russian military operation in Ukraine, launched on February 24. The Kremlin announced the goal was to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" its neighbour and protect the people from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics suffering at the hands of the Ukrainian military. The military operation has received strong condemnation from the Wests, with nations imposing harsh sanctions targeting Russian businesses, culture, financial sector, media outlets, and many other areas.

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