Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Yuri Averyanov claimed on May 11 that “deadly microorganisms” created in U.S. and NATO Allies’ laboratories in the post-Soviet counties could be released into the environment “as if by accident,” presumably referring to among others the U.S.-funded Lugar Research Center in Tbilisi.
This could lead to mass destruction of civilians in Russia and its bordering states, the Security Council official told Russian state-owned Ria Novosti. Averyanov vowed that the Kremlin and its institutions will pay “special attention” and prepare proposals for countering the “risks and threats” associated with the labs.
This was the latest accusation against, among others, the Lugar Research Center, which has been repeatedly targetted by Kremlin’s bio-warfare allegations since it opened in 2011. The Center has also been subjected to disinformation campaigns, as well as a cyberattack in September 2020, which Tbilisi reckoned was launched by a foreign intelligence service.
Initially a joint Georgian and American facility, the Lugar Research Center was transferred to the Government of Georgia in 2018, which has fully handled its operations since. Georgian authorities continue to deny Kremlin’s accusations as disinformation.
Beijing weighs in
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying in her May 12 press conference commented on the Russian Security Council official’s remarks, noting that Beijing “has repeatedly urged the U.S. side to offer a full clarification on its bio-military activities at home and abroad.”
“We once again call on the U.S. side to give a detailed clarification and take concrete actions, to ensure the legitimacy, transparency and security of its bio-labs and relevant activities,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry official stated.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying also said a verification mechanism should be established under the Biological Weapons Convention to address these “concerns.”
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