The U.S. State Department denied allegations pushed by Russian officials this week that the U.S. military is involved in creating chemical weapons or biological weapons in Ukraine.
On Wednesday evening, the U.S. State Department said that Kremlin allegations that the United States and Ukraine have conducted “chemical and biological weapons activities” are false, noting that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have echoed Moscow’s claims.
The United States, he added, “does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine, it is in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention, and it does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere,” saying that Russia instead operates ” active chemical and biological weapons programs” that violate conventions on biological and chemical weapons.
The statement came about a day after Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told a Senate hearing there were biological laboratories located within Ukraine.
When questioned by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Nuland confirmed Tuesday the United States is protecting “biological research facilities” in the country from Russia’s army.
“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned that 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,” Nuland said.
Via state-run media, Russian officials on Thursday alleged that the United States provided funding to the laboratories to create biological weapons.
The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that the United States provided money to biological research facilities in Ukraine and further alleged, without evidence, that they might have been used to create biological weapons or conduct bat coronavirus-related experiments.
Chinese communist officials over the past two years have also pushed unfounded allegations the United States was the source of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming the virus was introduced to Wuhan by American soldiers who participated in the Military World Games in October 2019. They have also claimed the virus originated from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at the Fort Detrick army base in Maryland, despite the initial COVID-19 outbreak having occurred in Wuhan, which hosts a high-security medical researcher laboratory.
This week, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, while making reference to those previous COVID-19-related claims, pushed the theory that biological labs in Ukraine are being used by the United States to “conduct bio-military plans.”
But under the Trump administration, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine in April 2020 said that Chinese and Russian officials at the time were promoting COVID-19 disinformation.
“The U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program works with the Ukrainian Government to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern in Ukrainian government facilities while allowing for peaceful research and vaccine development,” the embassy said at the time.
“We also work with our Ukrainian partners to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats. Our joint efforts help to ensure that dangerous pathogens do not fall into the wrong hands,” it added.