Russia's claims on American bio-weapon lab in Ukraine: True or false?
- Russia made the allegations at a UNSC meeting
- US, NATO called the accusations "absurd"
- The claims have also been embraced by many in the US
Moscow has accused the United States and Ukraine of colluding on developing chemical and bioweapons as Kyiv faces the wrath of Russian forces. The allegations have even been made on international platforms such as the United Nations Security Council.
However, the West seems to have a united response to Russia's theory and has collectively dismissed such claims. The question remains: How credible are the claims?
Also Read: Also Read: NATO's responsibility to curb Russian attack on Ukraine: Alliance chief
Like any effective conspiracy theory, the Russian claim relies on some truths: Ukraine does maintain a network of biological labs dedicated to research into pathogens, and those labs have received funding and research support from the United States.
However, Ukraine solely owns and operates these biological labs and does not work in secrecy. The labs run under an initiative called the "Biological Threat Reduction Program."
“The labs are not secret,” said Filippa Lentzos, a senior lecturer in science and international security at King’s College London, in an email to the Associated Press. “They are not being used in relation to bioweapons. This is all disinformation."
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, also joined the United States in refuting Moscow's claims and tagged them as "absurd." He turned around the allegations and said Russia itself may use chemical weapons.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has previously warned of such accusations from Russian authorities, according to America's ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Blinken said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “fabricate allegations about chemical or biological weapons to justify its own violent attacks against the Ukrainian people", according to reports from Associated Press citing the diplomat.
What impact did the Russian accusations make in the United States?
Russia's claims about secret American biological warfare labs in Ukraine have gained popularity amongst several groups, including some supporters of former President Donald Trump and controversial right-wing group QAnon.
Other far-right groups, conspiracy theorists and a handful of journalists in the United States have also embraced the claims, according to reports from Associated Press.