Russia Releases Names, Documents Connected to U.S.-Funded Biolabs in Ukraine

Russian Radiological, Chemical, and Biological Defence Troops chief says Ukraine was “kept in the dark, and have no real idea about the true goals of the ongoing research.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Russian army is claiming to have obtained documentary evidence confirming the U.S. Pentagon was involved in financing military biological projects in Ukraine, according to TASS.
  • Chief of Russia’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, Igor Kirillov, said “We believe that components of biological weapons were being created in Ukraine,” and demonstrated a document dated March 6, 2015 confirming “the Pentagon’s direct involvement in financing military biological experiments in Ukraine.”
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) also revealed that Joanna Wintrol, the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s liaison officer at the US Embassy in Kyiv, has been serving as one of the program’s curators, according to Sputnik News.
  • Kirillov emphasized Ukraine had not been not aware of the scope of the biowarfare projects: “An analysis of the information received suggests that Ukrainian specialists have not been made aware of the potential risks involved in the transfer of biomaterials, and that they are essentially being used and kept in the dark, and have no real idea about the true goals of the ongoing research,” Kirillov said at a briefing in Moscow.
  • The Russian chief also shed light on a major project worth tens of millions of dollars and involving Ukraine’s top biolabs, known as Project UP-8, which was “directed at the study of pathogens of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis and hantaviruses,” according to the RCB Defence Troops chief.
  • It is “no coincidence” that Ukraine-based facilities were chosen by the DTRA and contractor Black & Veatch to execute the project, the officer said, given that these pathogens have natural foci in both Ukraine and Russia.
THE DOCUMENTS SHARED BY RUSSIA’S MoD:
OTHER PROJECT CODE NAMES:
  • PROJECT P-782: Ukrainian biolabs were also the main executor of Project P-782, conducting research into the transmission of diseases through bats, Sputnik notes. A Russian RCB Defence Troops analysis of documents claimed that Pentagon research has been going on since at least 2009 under the direct supervision of U.S. specialists, and that work in this area has also been done through several related projects, such as P-382, P-444, and P-568.
  • PROJECT FLU-FLY-WAY: Chief Kirillov also addressed information gleaned from documents received from the Kharkov Institute of Veterinary Medicine on the use of wild migratory birds as vectors for the transmission of a highly pathogenic form of avian influenza, according to Sputnik. The research is said to have included a study of when the transmission of the virus becomes “uncontrollable,” with the purpose of causing economic damage and creating risks to food security.
BACKGROUND:
  • Commenting on the security implications of the U.S.-funded Ukrainian biolabs’ operations in the region, Chief Kirillov said that the 2018 deaths of over 70 residents in Donetsk, Donbass from drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis may be associated with the activities of one such lab, with pathogens either accidentally or deliberately leaked, Sputnik reports.
  • Kirillov accused the United States of essentially farming out its military biological activities to third countries as a means of bypassing its international obligations by proxy.
  • “I’m referring here to the confidence-building measures, which are published with the aim of monitoring the implementation of the Convention. Since 2016, the moment that the projects we’ve named began to be realized…the United States and Ukraine have deliberately kept silent about this work in international reporting, due to its clear military-biological direction. This secrecy is another reason to stop and think about the goals the Pentagon is pursuing in Ukraine,” Kirillov said.
  • While Biden’s White House has called Russia’s claims that U.S. biological weapons labs are operating in Ukraine “preposterous” and part of Russian “disinformation” campaigns, U.S. undersecretary of state Victoria Nuland told lawmakers on March 7 that “biological research facilities” were in fact operating in Ukraine.