Lauren Moye, FISM News
Russian claims that Ukraine has chemical and biological weapons have been called “absurd” by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The NATO chief also warned that Russia’s latest “fabrication” could mean they are planning to utilize chemical weapons in the coming days, which would be a war crime under the Geneva Protocol.
Stoltenberg’s statements were published in the German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag on Sunday, where he was quoted as saying, “In recent days, we have heard absurd claims about chemical and biological weapons laboratories.”
Stoltenberg then voiced concerns that the “Kremlin’s lie” could serve as justification for an even more egregious war crime than those already inflicted on Ukraine. Stoltenberg said, “Now that these false claims have been made, we must remain vigilant because it is possible that Russia itself could plan chemical weapons operations under this fabrication of lies. That would be a war crime.”
On Friday, Russia called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, where Russia envoy Vassily Nebenzia asserted that Ukraine possessed biological weapons laboratories that were backed by the U.S. Defense Department. Nebenzia did not present proof of this claim.
The claims were dismissed by the other 14 countries as “a lie” and “utter nonsense.” The U.N. chief official for disarmament affairs Izumi Nakamitsu reminded that both Ukraine and Russia had joined an international ban on these weapons.
The U.S. envoy at the meeting, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, voiced concerns that the session was a “false flag effort” in preparation for Russia’s use of biological or chemical weapons.
The intent behind these lies seems clear, and it is deeply troubling. We believe Russia could use chemical or biological agents for assassinations, as part of a staged or false flag incident, or to support tactical military operations.
The tense exchanges between envoys at the Security Council meeting were not the only heated words traded on the subject. 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and Utah Senator Mitt Romney also exchanged strong words on the subject this weekend over Twitter.
On Sunday, the former-representative of Hawaii released a video claiming that there were “25 to 30 US-funded biolabs” in Ukraine that conduct “research on dangerous pathogens.” She advocated for the immediate shutdown and destruction of these pathogens to prevent “untold suffering and death” throughout the world.
There are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world. We must take action now to prevent disaster. US/Russia/Ukraine/NATO/UN/EU must implement a ceasefire now around these labs until they’re secured & pathogens destroyed pic.twitter.com/dhDTH5smIG
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 13, 2022
Romney responded to the video saying that Gabbard was “parroting false Russian propaganda” and that her claims were “treasonous.”
Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 13, 2022
Gabbard shot back, challenging Romney to either tell the truth about the biolabs or resign in a lengthy Twitter thread response:
Senator Romney, please provide evidence that what I said is untrue and treasonous. If you cannot, you should do the honorable thing: apologize and resign from the Senate.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 14, 2022
Romney has not yet reengaged on the subject.
According to a Defense fact sheet on the subject, the U.S. has provided $200 million to help support Ukrainian health laboratories since 2005. These facilities “maintain and study pathogens to be able to confirm outbreaks of disease and to improve early detection and diagnostic capabilities” according to the document. The U.S. started funding the research in Ukraine to help them secure dangerous biological material leftover from the Soviet Union’s “illegal biological weapons program” or by providing needed technology to conduct research.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization confirmed the existence of disease-causing pathogens housed in Ukrainian health laboratories. On Thursday in a Reuters exclusive, a WHO official said they had “strongly recommended” the destruction of “high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills.” It was not confirmed what diseases Ukraine had access to or if they had destroyed the pathogens.