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Russia: US should explain military biological activity in former USSR countries

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Moscow demands answers to questions about US military-biological activities in the post-Soviet space, official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova stated.

“We expect [Washington] to provide not general information, but substantive explanations regarding specific issues raised by the Russian side in connection with US military biological activities in the post-Soviet space,” she said in an interview with TASS.

The diplomat also noted that Russia calls on the United States to take a responsible approach to compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and to help strengthen this mechanism.

Russia plans to request consultations with the countries participating in the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in the near future in connection with activities of US biological laboratories in the post-Soviet space, Zakharova noted.

“In the near future, we intend to activate mechanisms under Articles V and VI of the Convention, which provide for consultations between the states – parties to the BTWC in resolving any issues regarding the purpose of the Convention or in connection with the implementation of its provisions, as well as cooperation in conducting any investigations into possible violations of obligations under the BTWC,” she added.

According to Russia’s information, the United States has deployed a network of biological laboratories in a number of countries neighboring Russia, where, under the auspices of the Pentagon, work is being done on dangerous viruses. The US claims that the laboratories act in the interests of the security of the United States and its allies, and rejects possible creation of biological weapons in these institutions.

In particular, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced earlier that in addition to Ukraine and Georgia, US-funded biological laboratories are located in Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asian countries.

The United States is trying to justify its unseemly military biological activities in the post-Soviet space with fake news, Zakharova said.

The diplomat drew attention to the “Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts with Ukraine, Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries” published on June 9 on the website of the US Department of Defense, which contains statements about the allegedly peaceful nature of US activities in the biological sphere on post-Soviet space.

“We consider this material to be fake news and part of an information campaign launched by Washington to justify the United States’ military biological activities in the post-Soviet space in order to divert international attention away from their true non-transparent and unseemly nature, which contradicts Washington’s international obligations, including those under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC),” Zakharova stressed.

“For obvious reasons, the United States prefers to remain silent about ongoing work in the post-Soviet space and does not provide information as part of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Assertions that the activity of the Pentagon and related structures is focused exclusively on health issues, are not true. Obviously, health care does not require the participation of the US military,” she added.

Zakharova stated that the numerous explanations that the United States is collecting biomaterial and monitoring the epidemiological situation “only reinforce and strengthen the fears of the Russian Federation in the context of compliance with the BTWC, including the facts revealed in Ukraine”.

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