A.K. Lukashevich, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE, at the OSCE Permanent Council Meeting on Biological Programmes and US Activities in Ukraine, Vienna, 19 May 2022

Friday, 20 May 2022 — Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


[Machine translation.]

Mr. Chairman,

In the course of the special operation in Ukraine, newly documented evidence has been discovered that for several years components of biological weapons have in fact been created in the immediate vicinity of the Russian borders – in violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. At the Permanent Council meeting on 22 April, we already touched on the topic of US military biological research in Ukraine. We spoke about specific projects involving human experimentation. Today we want to draw attention to new circumstances that have emerged confirming the imminent threats posed to international security by such activities.

As we have already said, the network of biological laboratories operating under the Pentagon’s auspices covered a number of Ukrainian cities. That’s more than 30 facilities. As it turned out, one of the strongholds of the network was Mariupol, which had been turned into a collection and passportization centre for cholera agents. The strains collected there were sent first to Kiev and then to the US. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, this activity has been ongoing since 2014. In addition to cholera, the Mariupol laboratories worked with extremely dangerous pathogens of tularemia and anthrax, as evidenced by the act of destruction of pathogenic microorganisms dated 25 February 2022. Some of this “collection” has not been liquidated in time. A total of 124 pathogenic strains were recovered from the biolaboratories found in the city. Among them were also found pathogens of diseases uncharacteristic for veterinary medicine, such as typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and gas gangrene.

The organisers of these programmes were not satisfied with laboratory tests. They conducted experiments on people. Here are examples of cynical experiments on civilians.

In 2020, counterfeit banknotes infected with a strain of tuberculosis resistant to antituberculosis drugs were distributed to minors in the village of Stenovoye in the Luhansk People’s Republic. According to the conclusion of the Luhansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Station, the banknotes were most likely contaminated artificially.

In this connection, information about Kiev sending UAVs equipped with biosubstance dispersal equipment to the eastern regions is particularly worrying. There is information that Ukraine purchased more than 50 such devices through intermediaries in January of this year. On 9 March this year, three such drones equipped with 30-litre containers and a spraying system were detected by the Russian military in Kherson Region. Ten more were spotted in late April near Kakhovka. Could it be that the intention was to spray some kind of contagion there as well?

New details are emerging about the Pentagon’s experiments on Ukrainian citizens in a psychiatric hospital near Kharkiv. The main category of subjects turned out to be a group of male patients aged 40-60 with a high stage of physical exhaustion. In order to conceal their US affiliation, the biological research experts travelled through third countries. But information is still available about the participants in these programmes. There is, for example, information on Florida-born Linda Oporto, who was directly involved in such work.

There is reason to believe that such experiments were part of a conscious policy of Washington and Kiev. The testimony of an official who had served in Ukraine’s security agencies in the past confirms that, in fact, for many years Ukraine’s own government agencies had imposed a direct ban on any activities aimed at protecting the security of Ukrainian citizens when it came to US military biolaboratories. That is, in fact, all activities that were carried out by the Americans on the territory of Ukraine were taken out of the zone of prohibition for control in terms of compliance with the security requirements of Ukrainian citizens themselves. Such collusion between the Ukrainian authorities and US military structures once again confirms the fact of external control over Ukraine and its exploitation by the United States of America in its interests.

What tentative conclusions can be drawn from all these circumstances. Let us highlight the international legal aspect: at the very least, there are indications that Washington and Kiev have not complied with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in recent years.

Work in the laboratories was carried out in a completely closed regime, pathogenic microorganisms – agents of biological weapons – were investigated. In fact, possible methods and mechanisms for destabilisation of the epidemiological situation in the region were being developed in Ukraine. It is a direct indication that the US biological laboratories in Ukraine were not created to search for effective means of protection against dangerous diseases and for broad international cooperation. Their main task is to collect biological materials and study for their own purposes the specifics of the spread of viruses and dangerous diseases. The United States has practically turned Ukraine into a testing ground for the development of biological weapons components and covert testing of new samples of pharmaceuticals. The facts already gathered show that there is a threat to the entire world, not just to Ukrainians and citizens of neighbouring countries. The threat stems primarily from the fact that such activities were, in fact, taken out of the legal framework and were not controlled by anyone. Not to mention the moral and ethical side of the issue, with Ukrainian residents acting as a kind of “test bio-material”.

Along with the conduct of secret military-biological programmes, it has been established that both the US and Ukraine have provided incomplete or misleading information to international bodies. All the reports from Ukraine indicate the absence of national biological defence research and development programmes. In addition, Ukraine on several occasions failed to provide information on infectious disease outbreaks. For example, in 2017, Ukrainian authorities did not report symptoms of botulism in Kiev and Kherson or hepatitis A in Mykolayiv. In 2019, mass signs of diphtheria were not announced, although the spread of the disease in five regions was reported. Ukraine did not inform on the involvement of military personnel in laboratories, nor on the facts of transferring biomaterials, funding of facilities and programmes by military departments.

The main question is how all these biological activities relate to specific norms of the 1971 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC). This key international instrument regulates this area of research. To date, 183 states have committed not to develop, produce or stockpile biological weapons. At the Preparatory Committee for the 9th BTWC Review Conference in Geneva in April this year, however, the United States did not provide clear information about its biological programmes in Ukraine. In light of the available evidence, the excuses that the programme is purely peaceful are clearly not enough for the international community. Of additional concern is Washington’s line of opposition to strengthening the BTWC regime, including blocking the creation of a mechanism to verify compliance with its provisions and the initiative to introduce a confidence-building measure in the form of accountability for military-biological activities outside national territory. So, Washington has its nose in the grill after all?

In Russia, a parliamentary commission has been set up to investigate US biolaboratories in Ukraine, and there are plans to establish a broad international information exchange on the subject. The analysis of the US and Ukrainian reports for five years on the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention is being carried out. Russia is putting together a package of documents to launch an official international investigation into bioweapons activities in Ukraine in the near future. In particular, Articles 5 and 6 of the Biological Weapons Convention will be used to investigate biological activities in Ukraine.

Article 5 of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention states, inter alia, that “The States Parties … The Convention undertakes to consult and cooperate with each other in resolving any questions which may arise in relation to the objective of, or in the application of, the provisions of the Convention”.

Article 6 of the BWC states that “Any State Party… Convention which finds that any other State Party is acting in breach of obligations deriving from the provisions of the Convention may lodge a complaint with the UNSC”.

I want to make it clear: the United States will no longer be able to gloss over this situation by simply calling the findings “lies and propaganda”, as we have heard more than once in this room, Washington will respond substantively – and not with empty slogans, but with the facts revealed. Russia will insist on open discussions of this dangerous problem in the relevant international instances, including the UN Security Council, precisely because of the global threat posed by US military and biological programmes. If the Ukrainian regime is indifferent to the fate of people living on the territory of present-day Ukraine, it does not mean that other countries of the world will remain indifferent to the biological security of their own citizens.

Thank you for your attention.

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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