Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused the U.S. of using a Georgian “health center” to mask its activities in the field of biological weapons research close to Russian borders, according to a report in TASS.
The ministry’s comments came in a statement last week, where it slammed the U.S. for undermining international efforts to strengthen the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.
The Washington government has “long chosen the tactics of the spread of provocative conjectures and insinuations against other states on the issues related to the specified Convention,” the ministry said, in reaction to a Report on Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments from the U.S. State Department.
Moscow took issue with a facility located in Tbilisi, Georgia, called the Richard G. Lugar Public Health Research Centre, which it accuses of being a secret high-level biosafety containment laboratory.
“It has long been sheltering a medical research division of the US Ground Forces, which is a branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR),” the Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry went on to accuse U.S. and Georgian authorities of conspiring to conceal the facility’s true activities, which are focused on the research of dangerous infectious diseases with a view to making them into bio-weapons. It added that the U.S. is making efforts to establish similar camouflaged bio-weapons facilities in other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) states, and that it has an “obvious disinterest” in strengthening the Convention as a collective security instrument.
The ministry pointed to the U.S.’s previous obstructive behavior on the issue, saying it unilaterally disrupted multilateral negotiations on a universal BWC verification mechanism in 2001, and has been blocking the resumption of talks ever since then.
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