The World Health Organization has advised 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.
“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,” Reuters reported.
“In response to questions from Reuters about its work with Ukraine ahead of and during Russia’s invasion, the WHO said in an email that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health labs for several years to promote security practices that help prevent ‘accidental or deliberate release of pathogens’,” Reuters added.
“As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills,” the WHO said.
“Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and at their embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment,” Reuters noted.
However, Becker News obtained and exclusively translated the documents that showed that Ukraine had already begun sterilizing the biolabs beginning on February 24.
The Russian media outlet RIA Novosti released documents that the Ministry of Defense points to as evidence that Ukraine was undertaking research in U.S.-funded biolabs that has the capability to be used for bioweapons.
Major General Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, provided the information to journalists. Moscow said that the documents, allegedly originating from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories, confirmed that “components of biological weapons were being developed in Ukraine, in close proximity to Russian territory,” as reported by RIA Novosti.
“In the course of a special military operation, the facts of an emergency cleansing by the Kiev regime of traces of a military biological program being implemented in Ukraine, funded by the US Department of Defense, were uncovered,” Konashenkov said.
“We have received documentation from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories on the emergency destruction of especially dangerous pathogens on February 24 — the causative agents of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases,” Konashenkov claimed.
The documents, with an exclusive translation via Becker News, follows below:
“The Ukrainian Minister of Health Security in connection with the introduction of martial law in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, according to the Ukrainian Presidential Order on 24.02.2022, No. 64/2022 requests to ensure the emergency destruction of biological pathogens used to ensure the quality management system of laboratories in the attached order: appendix on 2 sheets. in 1 approx.”
The document references Viktor Liashko, the Minister of Health in Ukraine.
“The order carrying out of emergency destruction of the biological pathogenic agents which are used for maintenance of system and quality management of laboratory in case of emergence of extraordinary military character”:
- This Order determines the mechanism of carrying out the emergency destruction of biologic pathogenic agents, which are used to ensure the quality management system of laboratory tests (hereinafter – biological pathogens), in case of military situations.
- For the timely implementation of measures aimed at the destruction of biological pathogens in the event of emergencies, the heads of disease control and prevention centers under the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the laboratory centers under the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and government agencies “Ukrainian Research Anti-Plague Institute named after I.I. Mechnikov of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine” and public institutions of the “Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine”:
1. Approve plans for emergency destruction of biological pathogenic agents in case of military emergencies;
2. Determine the authorities responsible for the emergence of military emergencies;
3. Provide for the creation of reserves of funds for the emergency destruction of biological pathogens and in case of emergencies of a military nature.
3. [sic] Institutions that hold working sets of biological pathogens to ensure the quality management system of laboratory tests, must destroy them by disinfection (hereinafter – disinfection);
4. Disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by certain rehabilitative persons with secondary or secondary special education, who… have been trained in laboratory biosafety and bioanalysis and have experience working with biological pathogens.
5. Disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by autoclaving with mandatory compliance with the relevant regimes and control in accordance with the requirements of applicable regulations;
6. In the case where it is impossible to use an autoclave, disinfection of biological pathogens is carried out by appropriate disinfectants or by boiling;
7. The results of disinfection are entered in the control log, the work of air and steam (autoclave) sterilizers, form No. 257/0, approved by the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of January 4, 2001 No. 1 “About the statement of the forms of the medical accounting documentation used in laboratories of medical and preventive institutions” (with changes).
8. Disposal of decontaminated material will be adjudicated in accordance with internal procedures approved by the institution.
Critically, the document then lists the cultures that are to be destroyed:
- C. diphtheriae gravis tox – 0-1101
- C. diphtheriae mitis tox- 203 AG
- C. pseudeodipthericum 02-92 z (9-61)
- C. diphtheriae tox +NCTC 10648
- C. diptheriae tox – NCTC 10356
- C. xerosis NCTC 12078
- B. liheniformis “C”
- B. stearothermophilis BKM-B-718
- S.aureus.subsp.aureus ATCC 25923
- E Coli (Beta)
- P.aeruginosa ATCC 27853
- K. penumoniae K-56 3534.51
The document appears to be signed by the Head of Microbiological Laboratories, Karlivsky V.P., as well as by Nadiya Kushka, Lyubov Bobritska, Tetiyana Shebchenko, and Peter Vasiliev.
Amid the Russians’ accusations, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has scrubbed a number of documents related to the Ukrainian “Biological Threat Reduction” program.
Those documents have been retrieved and can be read below. The documents show both the locations of the Ukrainian laboratories and the Department of Defense’s listing as a “donor” to the program.
“The Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance System (EIDSS) is a software system which is designed to strengthen monitoring and prevention of human and animal diseases within the One Health concept, and facilitate compliance of International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005,” the embassy document states.
In 2011 EIDSS was introduced in Ukraine with installations at the following sites:
- Central Sanitary-Epidemiology Station in Kyiv (CSES)
- Ukrainian Research Anti-Plague Institute in Odessa (URAPI)
- Vinnitsa Oblast Sanitary-Epidemiological Station
- Vinnitsa City Sanitary- Epidemiological Station
- Kalynivska Rayon Sanitary- Epidemiological Station in Vinnitsa Oblast
- Zhitomir Oblast Sanitary- Epidemiological Station
- Khmelnitska Oblast Sanitary- Epidemiological Station as regional sites
“The main objective of the program is to implement EIDSS at the sites of the State Sanitary-Epidemiological Service of Ukraine for monitoring and outbreak prevention ofdiseases including those caused by Especially Dangerous Pathogens,” the document adds.
The Department of Defense expenditures as listed for select Ukrainian laboratories follow below:
- Dnipropetrovsk Diagnostic Laboratory (USD $1,935,557)
- Dnipropetrovsk State Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (USD $1,810, 547)
- Kharkiv Diagnostic Laboratory (USD $1,638,375)
- Luhansk Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (USD $1,746,312)
- Lviv Diagnostic Laboratory (USD $1,927,158)
- Lviv Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (USD $1,734,971)
- Vinnytsia Oblast Laboratory Center (USD $1,504,840)
- Zakarpartska Oblast Laboratory Center (USD $1,920,432)
- Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences ( USD $2,109,375.23)
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine explained the operation of the laboratories and accused the Russians of spreading disinformation about their nature in 2020.
“The biological threat reduction program is working in 27 countries,” the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan William Moser said. “We’ve feel this disinformation and misinformation is done just to really exploit divisions.”
“We’ve had accusations that some research projects were being used to create threats, not to identify threats and reduce them,” Dr. Mary Lancaster added. “Ulterior motives are being injected where none exist.”
“We’ve built these capabilities for the partners, their central reference labs for research,” Lance Brooks said. “They publish everything they do. They invite the international community into their laboratories. They’re working on behalf and the benefit of the people of their respective countries.”
Russia has requested a meeting of the UN Security Council over purported U.S. military-biological activities in Ukraine.
Igor Kirillov of the Russian Defense Ministry, and head of the Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection of Troops, presented alleged evidence regarding the Pentagon-funded “Biological Threat Reduction” program in Ukraine.
“We’ve discovered details about Project UP-4, implemented with involvement of laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, and planned for period until 2020. The project’s goal was to research a potential of spread of particularly dangerous infections via migrating birds, including the highly pathogenic H5N1 flu, whose lethality for humans can reach 50%, as well as Newcastle disease,” Kirillov said.
Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, reported on the Russians’ request.
“Russian Mission asked for a meeting of Security Council for 11 March to discuss the military biological activities of the US on the territory of Ukraine,” Polyansky tweeted.
Polyansky cited Ministry of Defense documents that allegedly show the operation of a biowarfare research program in Ukraine. Those documents have been obtained by Becker News and translated excerpts from the original Ukrainian and Russian are provided below.
One letter provided by the Russians purported to show “the risk of new infections from insectivorous bats in Ukraine and Georgia.”
“Identification of new viral (coronavirus, filovirus, paramyxovirus, orthomyxovirus, lysavirus) bacterial (Brucella, Leptospira, Yersinia) pathogens significant for human and animal health from bats in Ukraine and Georgia; Investigation of how landscape biodiversity change affects the composition of endemic viral and bacterial agents in bat populations, as well as an assessment of their eco-evolutionary relationship with the occurrence of diseases in humans and domestic animals; Building a sustainable and harmonious system for the early detection of dangerous agents from bat populations in Ukraine and Georgia and their further genomic description.”
“Method: Integration of a multidisciplinary interdepartmental coalition from institutes and universities of health and veterinary medicine, which will contribute to the creation of a regional self-sufficient multinational group for the early detection and typing of agents, while creating a sophisticated analytical base for their adequate assessment,” the document continued.
“Application: This project will be implemented and integrated through the coordinated work of the National Research Center Institute for Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine, the National Center for Public Health and Disease Control, the Centers for Disease Control in cooperation with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the US Geological Survey,” the document added.
“The results of scientific work will be useful for the evolution of bacterial and viral infectious diseases, early warning systems and health of people and animals around the world, as well as for the environment,” it noted.
“Engaged Personnel: More than 60 scientists from the USA, Ukraine and Georgia with various degrees and experience will participate in field research, diagnostics, molecular typing, Sanger sequencing, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, ecological niche modeling and data visualization,” the document went on.
“Financing: Total for Ukraine and Georgia for the period 2020-2023 – 1.6 million US dollars, of which 207-398 thousand dollars per year for the IEKVM, 178-257 thousand dollars per year for the NCHCHD, 53 thousand dollars per year for the STCU, a total of $1,554,519 for the CDC ($512,000-527,000 per year),” the document stated.
The original document provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense can be viewed below.
One letter showed alleged U.S. and Ukrainian collaboration and was addressed to Brandt Siegel, who is an International Project Manager at Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
“Dear Mr. Brandt Siegel: We take this opportunity to express our deep respect to you and the US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency for many years of fruitful cooperation and support of Ukrainian veterinary science,” the translated letter states. “In response to your letter DTRO 21-016 dated January 26, 2021, the NAAS Department of Veterinary Medicine (National Research Center ‘Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine’ and the NAAS Institute of Veterinary Medicine) prepared short descriptions of five project proposals focusing on study of particularly dangerous microorganisms”:
- Improvement of possibilities for regional cooperation and capacity building for emerging ruminant diseases (foot-and-mouth disease, bluetongue, lumpy skin disease and sheep and goat pox) surveillance system in the Eurasian nosoareal.
- Regional monitoring of emerging poultry diseases (influenza, Newcastle disease) in migrating wild birds in the Eurasian migration corridor, and characteristics of circulating pathogens.
- Risk assessment and zoonotic threats identification in reptiles as a reservoir of zoonotic pathogens using NGS (full genome sequencing).
- Study of the African swine fever natural foci formation in Ukraine.
- Study of reemergence risks of Anthrax in Ukraine.
“We send you these proposals (Appendix – 5 pages),” the letter added. “They will also be emailed to Dr. Megan Howard.”
Another letter named the groups that had access to the research data.
“The following U.S.-based groups can view data on all study subjects included in this protocol, as well as flag instances of non-compliance with this protocol: U.S. Department of Defense, UNMHSC Study Subject Protection, and UTHSC Bioethics Committees,” the letter said.
“The Bioethics Committee of Ukraine may also review records to ensure they comply with Ukrainian regulatory standards,” the letter added. “In addition, any data obtained from this study should be available for verification upon request of the Ukrainian Committee of Bioethics and representatives of the US Department of Defense. One member of the study team will monitor the quality of the study and apply measures to ensure it is of the required level.”
The Russians also held up documents from OpentheBooks.com that showed collaboration between U.S. and Ukrainian scientists, such as regarding the disease Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). The visit was planned for November 12, 2018.
On Wednesday, however, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took to Twitter to blast the media for reporting on Russia-and China-backed “conspiracy theories.”
“We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine,” Jen Psaki said on Twitter. “We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories.”
“This is preposterous,” she continued. “It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent.”
“The United States is in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere,” she claimed. “It’s Russia that has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and poisoning of Putin’s political enemies like Alexey Navalny.”
“It’s Russia that continues to support the Assad regime in Syria, which has repeatedly used chemical weapons,” she went on. “It’s Russia that has long maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law. Also, Russia has a track record of accusing the West of the very violations that Russia itself is perpetrating.”
“In December, Russia falsely accused the U.S. of deploying contractors with chemical weapons in Ukraine,” she continued. “This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”
“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them,” she added. “It’s a clear pattern.”
It’s ironic that the Communist Chinese are propagating the bioweapons ‘conspiracy theory’ despite concern about the Pentagon funding a similar program at Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic originated.
On Tuesday, Russia’s suspicions about the U.S.-funded biolaboratory program in Ukraine were heightened by the statements of Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact, we are now quite concerned,” Nuland said “Russian troops, 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.”
Ukraine had already issued a presidential order on February 24 to sterilize the facilities in the event of unforeseen military occupation, as documents obtained and exclusively translated by Becker News revealed.
Documents scrubbed from the U.S. embassy in Ukraine and obtained by Becker News confirm the existence and Pentagon funding of the “Biological Threat Reduction” program.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of assisting the Ukrainians with the development of ‘biological warfare facilities’ in Kyiv and Odessa. Lavrov leveled the charge at a press conference on Thursday, which was echoed by top-ranking Russian diplomatic negotiators at Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Belarus on Monday. Watch:
“We have data that the Pentagon is preoccupied with the chemical and biological installations in Ukraine,” Lavrov claimed. “The Pentagon built two biowarfare labs and they have been developing pathogens there in Kyiv and in Odessa.”
“And now they are concerned that they may lose control over these labs,” he argued. “And you know what it may be like in future. And the Americans decline flatly and resolutely to start an inspection mechanism as part of the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons. And they build new chemical and biological facilities all across Russian borders.”
“And, you know, many other developments happen,” Lavrov went on. “The CIA has been on the ground in droves, and they have been training the Ukrainian army, not to wage a war with Poland, apparently. And when developments in Iraq happened, when the United States claimed it was a threat to the U.S. national security, did anyone ask back then why the United States back then decided to bring a country 10,000 kilometers off its coast to order, because the U.S. is a great power?”
“When Russia says there is a threat to us, they start telling us that there is not a threat at all, but you know, we will decide what is needed to provide for our security,” Lavrov stated. “And it’s close and next to our borders, we will not go 10,000 kilometers away to enforce our rules.”
Russia is therefore invoking the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a pretext for invading Ukraine. It turned out after the invasion that weapons inspectors could find scant if any evidence that then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was maintaining an active Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program. However, the New York Times reported that Iraq had old stockpiles of WMDs that were discovered by U.S. soldiers.
In May 2020, Lavrov accused the United States “categorically opposing the adoption of a protocol to the convention of banning biological and toxin weapons, which would establish a mechanism to verify compliance by member countries with their obligation not to produce such weapons.”
As earlier reported, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov , said that the ministry would provide an “analysis of documents” on a program to create biological weapons components in Ukraine.
Slutsky also noted that, on February 24, according to the Ukrainian-language documents produced by Russia, laboratory staff in Ukraine received an order to immediately destroy especially dangerous pathogens, including the causative agents of ‘plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera’ and other deadly diseases.
“We are getting more and more confirmation that Russia had more than good reasons for conducting a special military operation to demilitarize Ukraine,” Slutsky claimed on his Telegram channel.
There is virtually no evidence that a U.S.-funded biolaboratory program in Ukraine was working on ‘bioweapons.’ However, the mainstream media’s track record of reporting on the Wuhan laboratory is not helping to put Americans’ concerns to rest.