Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that Ukrainian biolabs near Russia’s borders engaged in the development of components for biological weapons.
“In the past several days, long-standing fears which we have expressed repeatedly for years regarding the development of military biological materials by the United States on the territory of Ukraine under the auspices of the relevant US special services have been confirmed,” Zakharova said in a briefing Wednesday.
“This has been confirmed based not only on those materials and data which were obtained operationally on the territory of Ukraine, not just based on the statements of the relevant agencies in Ukraine, but confirmed directly in Washington during a speech by US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland,” Zakharova said.
The spokeswoman said the question of whether or not the biological weapons components being researched at these facilities have been destroyed or not remains to be answered, but pointed to the receipt of documents from employees of biolabs ordering the liquidation of dangerous pathogens dated 24 February.
Zakharova emphasized that there is now no doubt about the military nature of the research at these facilities, pointing to the Russian military’s revelations on the labs’ US Department of Defense funding, and the presence of US specialists instructing the Ukrainian side in conducting the relevant research.
The Russian diplomat, meanwhile said that the special operation does not include occupation, destruction of statehood or overthrow of Ukrainian Government.
Separately, in an interview with Radio Sputnik Wednesday, Zakharova suggested that the Russian military’s revelations about US-funded biolabs “completely changes the picture of US involvement in the fate of Ukraine.”
“It is not just an instrument of influence, it’s not just an an instrument of deterrence. Its an instrument of a direct threat to our country,” Zakharova said.
In testimony before the Senate on Tuesday, Victoria Nuland admitted that Ukraine was home to biological research facilities, and told lawmakers that Washington was “quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of” these facilities and the “research materials” contained therein.
“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 should they approach,” Nuland said.