US biolabs unacceptable: Putin
Russia demands information on research in Ukraine
Published: Mar 20, 2022 05:33 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo:VCG

Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo:VCG

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Saturday "the unacceptable nature of the military-biological activities of the United States in Ukraine" in a phone conversation with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Such activities pose a huge danger to both Russia and the whole of Europe, Putin said.

The two leaders discussed Russia's military operation in Ukraine, and Putin noted the missile attacks by the Ukrainian security forces on cities in Donbass, said the statement.

Bettel said that "we must put an end to" the conflict, and "no one stands to gain from these clashes; not Russia, not Europe and certainly not Ukraine," according to a statement on the official website of the Luxembourg government.

Bettel briefed Putin on contacts with leaders of Ukraine and other countries, and Putin outlined his assessments of the Russian-Ukrainian peace talks, the statement added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday asked Washington to provide all information on the activities of US-linked biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Last week, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Ukraine, admitting "Ukraine has biological research facilities."

Russia's recent disclosure about the US-funded biolabs in Ukraine has sent jitters around the globe.

Besides Ukraine, the US has been funding secret biolabs in many countries around the world. 

The truth behind these biolabs and the risks of leakage of some dangerous pathogens have sparked serious concern in the international community.

The Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) is part of the US Department of Defense's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, according to the defense ministry.

Since 2005, when the BTRP partnered with the government of Ukraine, the US has invested approximately $200 million in Ukraine, supporting 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities and diagnostic sites.

According to publicly available data, 336 laboratories in about 30 countries receive funding from the BTRP. 

The research work conducted by these defense ministry-funded biolabs is highly classified.

Although US officials have dismissed the questions about these biolabs as "disinformation" and "conspiracy theories," there have been calls for Washington to comply with the Biological Weapons Convention and make clarifications on related issues.

Alastair Hay, professor emeritus of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Leeds in Britain, said: "the United States has been supporting various laboratories in the Ukraine through a post-Cold War program. As I understand it, these labs are generally involved in disease surveillance."