Tskhinvali KGB Targets Lugar Center, U.S. Health Facilities

Tbilisi-based Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, and Pentagon-linked U.S. health non-profits have again become a target of Russian-South Ossetian bio-warfare allegations.

The Tskhinvali Security Committee (KGB), led by former FSB official Oleg Shiran, said on February 2 that Tbilisi could use the Lugar Center’s research into infectious diseases for “bioterrorism” in the region.

Noting that the Lugar Center experimented with coronaviruses, the Tskhinvali KGB said the Eco Health Alliance, a non-profit based in New York, “involved in bat research under the U.S. Department of Defense program, has been operating in Georgia and has been in contact with the Wuhan laboratory.”

The allegations come ahead of the ‘presidential vote’ in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, in which current leader Anatoly Bibilov seeks reelection in April and amid Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine.

The S. Ossetian KGB also targeted The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Pentagon’s largest bio-medical research facility, claiming U.S. military medics will run new “secretive” laboratory and administrative building to be built near the Lugar Center.

“Georgia is under the direct control of the West,” continued KGB of the Russian occupied region, claiming Tbilisi had no influence over the “decision-making on the deployment and operation of a network of American biological laboratories on its territory.”

The sensationalist statement further accused the Lugar Center continuing research into the treatment of the hepatitis C to render the virus “more resistant to existing drugs,” killing 249 persons in the process.

It also mentioned cases of African Swine Fever in the region and nearby Tbilisi-controlled Sachkhere Municipality, noting the Georgian authorities were staying collusively mum about the spread of the cattle disease.

The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a subsidiary of the Georgian Health Ministry’s National Center for Disease Control, has been a target of Moscow’s disinformation and reproval since its very launch.

In 2020, Russian ruling party MP Yury Shvytkin went as far to suggest that chemical nerve-agents like “Novichok” — that Moscow is accused of using against its critics — are produced in the U.S. and Georgian labs.

The Georgian Government have repeatedly denied the accusations, opening the lab to foreign media and experts for inspection in 2018, to which Russian military medics declined to join.

Also back in 2018, NCDC Georgia asserted that the facility, now fully managed and financed by the Georgian Government, fulfills its international obligations for transparency in accordance with the UN Conventions.

Georgian authorities have also alluded that Russia carried out a 2020 cyberattack against the Health Ministry and the Lugar Research Center, aimed at illegal appropriation and use of medical records and pandemic management information.

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