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US urged to come clean on bio-military activities as outcry grows after its ‘confusing, contradictory’ responses

Source: Global Times by Zhang Hui and Liu Xin

Amid grave concerns from the international community concerning the US’ bio-military activities overseas, especially its confusing and inconsistent response on its biological labs in Ukraine, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to convene on Friday to discuss the US’ alleged military biological research in Ukraine at Russia’s request.

Chinese analysts said suspicions have hovered over COVID-19’s origins at US labs at home and abroad for long, which the US has failed to explain, and the US’ credibility has further been undermined for not facing up to its research in Ukraine but releasing confusing information. They urged the US to give the world an open and transparent explanation. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday said that US-funded biolabs in Ukraine worked on establishing a mechanism “for the covert transmission of deadly pathogens,” and were conducting experiments with bat coronavirus samples. Earlier this week, Russia said there was a network of biolabs in Ukraine working on behalf of the US Department of Defense which formed part of US’ biological weapons program. 

The World Health Organization has strongly recommended that the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills, the WHO said in an email to the Global Times on Friday. 

It said that WHO routinely assists member states in improving their public health capacities, including by facilitating improved safety and security of laboratories holding samples of pathogens of public health concern.

WHO’s country office in Ukraine has been working for several years with the Ministry of Health and other partners, including other WHO member states, to support the enhancing of biosafety and biosecurity of labs, as well as the capacity of lab personnel, in particular to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the US initially slammed information about its bio labs in Ukraine as “fake,” on Tuesday, Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs of the US, admitted that Ukraine has biological research facilities and that she was “quite concerned that Russian troops may be seeking to gain control of those labs.”

Then the next day, the US Department of State said Russia’s claims of US bio-weapon activities in Ukraine were “outright lies,” and claimed Chinese officials also “echo these conspiracy theories.”

However, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, said the information released by the US was rather contradictory and confusing while it accused others of spreading disinformation. 

China is a third party on the Ukraine situation, but the US always draws China into its strategic competition with Russia and attacks the two together, which is shameful and shabby, Li told the Global Times. 

The US elites’ current attack at China regardless of right and wrong is not surprising and showcases their arrogance and paranoid ideation, Li said. 

Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva also noticed the US’ inconsistent response. She on Thursday retweeted a video she posted four years ago about being expelled from European Parliament for “confronting the US Assistant Secretary of health over Pentagon-funded biolabs in 25 countries,” and said “I was smeared by US media as ‘fake news.’ Who is the fake news now?”

It is untenable for the US to accuse Russia of spreading disinformation and fabricating conspiracy theories. The US itself is actually the initiator and biggest player of conspiracy theories and has used lies and conspiracies to start wars since the Cold War. For example, it used the “washing powder” lie to start the Iraq war, analysts said.  

It is also the US’ old trick to spread disinformation to mislead the public and attack strategic rivalries, Li said, noting that on the issues of the labs in Ukraine, the most clear-cut way for the US to clear its name is to tell the world what it is doing in these labs, otherwise it cannot persuade the international community of its innocence.

Given the severity of the biowarfare labs and chemical weapons, all relevant parties, especially the EU, neighboring countries of Ukraine and the international community should stand together to request truth from the US and keep on high alert for the US’ dodging or down-playing of the matter, Li said. 

The US’ bio-military activities have triggered wide concern from Chinese netizens with related topics trending on China’s social media platform Sina Weibo on Friday.

Many Chinese netizens called for the US to make clear explanations to the international community on what kinds of experiments it has been doing in labs in Ukraine and other places around the world. Some netizens commented that considering the secret and dark deals between the notorious Japanese germ warfare unit and the US’ Fort Detrick lab after World War II on the former’s data on biological weapons, it is hard to dispel the international community’s concerns on the safety of the US biowarfare labs in Ukraine.