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Russia studies possible US bio-weapon violations

The Russian Defense Ministry is in possesion of documents published by Georgia’s former state security minister, Igor Giorgadze, concerning the United States’ biological weapons program.

Published: September 15, 2018, 9:49 am

    Moscow

    “At the moment all documents Igor Giorgadze published on his website are being studied by the Russian Defense Ministry’s specialists. The findings will be presented to the Russian and international public,” the Defense Ministry said.

    According to its statement the available “facts and documents contain evidence of serious violations by the US side of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction, which the United States ratified in 1972”.

    The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center opened in Alekseyevka near Tbilisi’s international airport in 2011 under a US government program. The Center conducts research into biological threats.

    Georgia’s former state security minister, Igor Giorgadze, says he has obtained evidence confirming that the center has staged risky experiments. He has urged US President Donald Trump to order an investigation into the laboratory’s activities as soon as possible.

    The US Department of Defense – by its own admission – was “seeking to acquire scientific, clinical research, and operational support for the US Army Medical Research Directorate at the Lugar Center in Tbilisi”.

    The laboratory became operational in August 2013, serving as a reference laboratory and supported in part by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP).

    The laboratory invited participants to “conduct required research of potential health risks to the military force in the Caucasus region”.

    Last year, Russia dismissed an attempt by the Pentagon explain away speculation from senior Russian lawmakers that the West is harvesting the genes of Russians to develop a biological weapon more deadly than the atom bomb.

    President Vladimir Putin noted in October 2017 that Russian citizens’ “biomaterial” was being gathered “systematically and professionally” by foreigners. He asked, without offering a theory, “Why are they doing this?”

    Duma lawmaker Gennady Onishchenko has called for legislation to tighten control over foreign-funded laboratories trading in biomaterial, calling it a threat to national security. He also raised the specter of biological warfare.

    Onishchenko warned: “This is an aggressive biological program that was banned by the 1972 convention on biological and toxic weapons.”

    Retired Colonel Frants Klintsevich issued a similar warning on Facebook: “I’m not asserting that we are talking about specific preparations for a biological war against Russia. But that scenario is undoubtedly being developed.

    “The warning of the Russian president is very timely. The relevant agencies in the West should understand that we know of their interest.”

    Onishchenko has alleged that the US Army might be infecting mosquitos with the Zika virus in Russia’s south using the laboratory in neighboring Georgia.

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