In a U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday, the Russians and the United States squared off over the purported existence or non-existence of biological weapons programs in Ukraine.
Russian ambassador Vasily Nevenzya openly accused the U.S. of funding 30 or more biological weapons research labs in Ukraine “aimed at strengthening the pathogenic qualities” or a whole slew of thing, from anthrax to cholera and worse.
The United States ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the claims an attempt to “legitimize disinformation and deceive people.”
“I will say this once, Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories by the United States… not near Russia’s border or anywhere.”
Meanwhile the World Health Organization warned Ukraine to “destroy high-threat pathogens housed in the country’s public health laboratories to prevent “any potential spills” that would spread disease among the population,” in a statement to Reuters.
Biosecurity experts say Russia’s movement of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its cities have raised the risk of an escape of disease-causing pathogens, should any of those facilities be damaged.
Neither Reuters nor the WHO in any way related the warning to biological weapons, instead emphasizing that these are pathogens at known facilities which the WHO has worked with Ukraine on in the past, and which are nothing more than public health facilities conducting research to “mitigate the threats of dangerous diseases.”