Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

US biolabs threaten Russia's security

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the allegations contained in the report of the U.S. State Department on compliance with the agreements and commitments on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament for the year 2012. The Russian Ministry noted that the irrepressible desire of the U.S. partners to judge others and place labels is combined with a categorical unwillingness to "look in the mirror."

In addition, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs drew attention to the fact that all U.S. accusations that Russia allegedly violated its obligations under several international treaties were unsubstantiated.

The State Department's report was published on July 12. It again called into question Russia's compliance with the obligations under the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), as always, without providing any evidence.

"Meanwhile, the Americans' concern would have been long and completely eliminated had the U.S. not blocked the creation of a verification mechanism in the framework of the BTWC," stated the Foreign Ministry in its comments.

A biological lab "Central Public Health Reference Laboratory" operates in Tbilisi, Georgia, under the American supervision. "Russia sees this as a direct violation of the BTWC, it is a powerful offensive potential," the chief state sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko said on July 20. His fears are not unfounded. For example, the swine flu that broke out in early 2012 in the South Caucasus region is linked to the activities of this particular lab led by Anna Zhvania, the former head of the special Foreign Intelligence Service of Georgia. It was created with the assistance of Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases of the U.S. Army (USAMRIID, Fort Detrick), and its opening was attended by the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for the programs of nuclear, biological and chemical defense Andrew C. Weber. All these facts promp serious reflection.

Another secret laboratory operates in Odessa, Ukraine, in the framework of the "Joint reduction of threats." It specializes in the study of the most dangerous pathogens on the planet. Senator Richard Lugar (known as the co-author of the Nunn-Lugar program meant to assist the Russians in the destruction of weapons of mass destruction closed in 2012), said at the opening of the facilities in 2010 that in addition to Ukraine, the United States will build similar laboratories in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

This seems like an excessive number of these establishments at the Russian borders, given that they may be involved in a large-scale biological activity of dual-use. Why are the Americans unwilling to agree on the methods of their control? Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed its concern in this regard.

In its report, the U.S. State Department also accused Russia of the alleged non-compliance with the obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC). However, in the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), no such accusations have been made against Russia. The Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia consistently met conventional requirements and regularly reported to the OPCW on the substantial progress in the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal. "And all of this is happening against the background of virtually suspended by the United States destruction of chemical weapons, including delays in the construction and commissioning of the facilities designed to eliminate significant stockpiles of chemical weapons," the Foreign Ministry said in its statement. Indeed, the evidence shows that Russia has destroyed 25,000 tons of chemical agents by April 29th of this year, or nearly 62 percent of its chemical weapons stockpiles. These reserves were the largest in the world and amounted to 40,000 tons. The Russian Federation committed to a complete destruction of all its deadly reserves by December 31st, 2015.

The United States that ranks second in terms of stocks of chemical weapons with 30,000 tons destroyed approximately 90 percent of its arsenal - 25,000 tons. However, the country still has 10 percent of toxic substances in the "reserve," and the Pentagon postponed the projected completion date of the program to eliminate their chemical weapons until 2023.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. continued to link the search for new approaches to the modernization of the conventional arms control in Europe to the settlement of local conflicts. Therefore, the Russian Foreign Ministry considers inappropriate the paragraphs of the report on Georgia. "The reality is that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are sovereign states. Reluctance to consider this will adversely affect the prospects of conventional arms control and the Open Skies Treaty (OST). According to the latter, any flight in the open sky closer than 10 kilometers from the borders of the countries not participating in the OST, which include Abkhazia and South Ossetia, is prohibited. Therefore, Russia will insist on compliance with Article VI of the Treaty.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is not only trying to justify itself, but also reminds that the United States, assuring the international community in its intention to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), has not been doing it for many years. "Therefore, the U.S. is also responsible for the fact that the Treaty has not yet entered into force," the Foreign Ministry stated.

According to the Ministry, the report of the U.S. State Department "is not conducive to an atmosphere of confidence and progress in actual cases in the field of non-proliferation and arms control." "Overall progress report gives the impression that the U.S., despite the changes occurring in the world, still remains in the grip of cold war propaganda."

Lyuba Lulko


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