Over the years, Russia has expressed alarm over US military-funded biowarfare labs in several of its neighboring countries. But since all of these cautions fell upon deaf ears, Russia is calling for a mandatory international treaty to ban bioweapons.
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In contrast to the US view on the matter, Moscow stated on Wednesday that an international convention against bioweapons should be reinforced with an adherence checking system. The request follows in the aftermath of reports that evidence of lethal pathogens was discovered at Pentagon-backed laboratories in Ukraine.
This week, the Russian military stated that Ukrainian authorities had instructed the disposal of severely infectious specimens held in US-backed biological labs around the nation.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, the documents show that both Ukraine and the United States violated the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which both countries signed and ratified. According to the report, the order to eliminate the samples was a move to conceal treaty infractions.
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“We stand for the resumption of the work on a legally binding Protocol to the Convention for an effective verification mechanism, which the US has been stonewalling since 2001,” the ministry said.
The BWC prohibits the creation, storage, and employment of biological and toxin weapons, which went into effect in 1975. The treaty appears to lack an international watchdog institution to ensure adherence, unlike its chemical weapons cousin, the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
In the 1990s, an effort was made to form such an organization. The VEREX ad hoc team devoted a decade developing suggestions for surveillance, inspections, information sharing, and other methods to boost confidence.
Due to concerns from the George W. Bush administration, which dismissed a 210-page draught protocol in 2001, the project eventually flopped. If it had been adopted, Washington contended, it would not have benefited the BWC and would have harmed US national security and commercial interests.
Then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton stated at the time that Washington was concentrating its anti-germ warfare efforts on Iraq. Bolton claimed that the presence of Saddam’s bioweapons program was “beyond dispute.” Two years later, the US invaded Iraq under the guise of destroying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, a claim that was eventually debunked.
For years, Russia has expressed alarm over US military-funded labs in several of its neighboring countries, most notably Georgia. Moscow worries that the United States is doing military research there that could endanger Russia. According to the foreign ministry statement, actions conducted on foreign soil, like domestic programs, should be subject to reporting under the BWC.
The proposed measures “would allow subjecting military-biological activities of the US and its allies … to international control and ensure full verifiable compliance with the BWC by member states,” Moscow said.
Following Russia’s assertions regarding Ukrainian laboratories, China demanded that the Pentagon publicly comment on bio research undertaken with its funds in other countries. The US military, according to Beijing, controls “336 biological laboratories in 30 countries around the world.”
The US claims that the facilities are used to monitor possible new virus dangers around the world and denies that anything illicit is being done there.
On Tuesday, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland acknowledged that Russia indeed planned to attack Bioweapons labs in Ukraine and that Washington was working with Kiev on dangerous pathogens in those labs authorized by former US President Barack Obama himself.