The astonishing claims were made by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos and Moscow’s former ambassador to the UN. Mr Rogozin alleged that the bioweapons were designed to lead to the “weakening” of a nation’s immunity and its eventual “extinction”. Washington has consistently rubbished claims by the Putin regime that it has been developing bio and chemical weapons in Ukraine.
US officials warn that Moscow is attempting to create a pretext to use its own chemical weapons against Ukrainian targets as a result of the fierce resistance it has encountered during its military campaign.
Mr Rogozin a strident Russian nationalist and one of the founders of the Rodina political party made his allegations on his official Telegram account.
He wrote: “The issues of Russia’s encirclement by the US bio-laboratories are not news.
“They were repeatedly considered at their meetings by the Government Commission on Biological and Chemical Safety, which I had to lead from March 2017 to April 2018.
“It is no secret for the leadership of our country that the purpose of these biological experiments conducted by the Pentagon, using biomaterials obtained from the experimental Slavs of Ukraine and other countries neighbouring Russia, is to develop ‘ethnic weapons’ against the Russian population of Russia.
“These weapons affect both the reproductive function of women of a certain nationality, and the immune system of a particular ethnic group in general, causing allergies, intolerance to traditional food and susceptibility to diseases, leading to a weakening of the nation’s immunity and its extinction without the impact of wars.”
The Russian official’s claims provoked ridicule and scorn among leading Russian experts.
Kevin Rothrock, the editor of the English version of Meduza, an independent Russian news website, suggested the Kremlin had fallen victim to its own disinformation campaigns.
He commented: “Long story short: the Russian state is now led by men who embrace conspiracy theories built on comic-book-level pseudoscience.
“Moscow sought to embolden the nutsos in the West with disinformation but infected itself.
“And there’s the real bioweapon.”
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Ukraine does not have biochemical weapons laboratories and has fully complied with the chemical and biological weapons conventions that it signed up to in 1972 and 1993.
However, there are public health and veterinary health labs operated with US support in Ukraine, as well as in other former Soviet countries.
These provide technical support to a government’s health ministry and study disease, like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
US support originated with the Cooperative Threat Reduction scheme, launched in 1991 to help secure and dismantle the remnants of the former Soviet Union’s biochemical weapons programme in newly independent states, including Ukraine.
In recent years both Moscow and Beijing have made unfounded claims that the US is using these laboratories to develop a secret biochemical weapons programme.
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On March 11, the Russians convened an emergency UN Security Council session to discuss the claims by its Defence Ministry that it had uncovered “US secret military biological projects in Ukraine.”
At the meeting, the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, categorically denied the charges.
She said: “I will say this once: ‘Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program.’”
She added: “It is Russia that has long maintained a biological weapon program in violation of international law.”
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s UN ambassador, called the idea being advanced by Russia “a bunch of insane delirium”.