Rumors have been circulated widely around the Internet since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that one of Vladimir Putin’s purposes wat the destruction and removal of alleged bioweapons laboratories across Ukraine. I had initially dismissed this as part of a Russian disinformation campaign being carried out and employed against those predisposed to distrust Washington DC’s motives. Kyle Becker of beckernews.com ran a story on Monday highlighting what are now claims made by the Russian government that they are uncovering precisely such facilities. As Becker’s article points out, the Department of Defense admits being engaged with laboratories in Ukraine that handle some very dangerous infectious diseases, including Anthrax, to name one most people will recognize. Some of these sites are published on a map on the US Embassy’s website in Ukraine, seeming to confirm US knowledge of the existence of BioLabs. The Defense Department says its engagement there is part of their Bioweapons Threat Reduction Program, and under that program, they’ve provided assistance in upgrading the labs, allegedly for safety reasons. Becker notes that Foreign Minister Lavrov’s accusations may indeed be part of a propaganda campaign, but the question remains as to the degree of US involvement and the nature of the ongoing research in these facilities. It’s clear that Russia intends to play the “WMD” card, but what remains in question is whether these labs actually serve a demilitarized, peaceful purpose, and if Russia is simply seizing upon these labs as justification for their actions in Ukraine.
As Becker observes somewhat wryly, however, “Bioweapons threat reduction” was the same excuse at the heart of our involvement in the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology, and we all have some idea of how that turned out. Whether there is any actual fire in this case remains unclear, but there certainly is at least some smoke. I understand the concept of threat reduction, but I also know the DoD has been known to employ some smokescreens in such matters. It would be truly ironic and damaging if it turned out that these labs had handled materials and conducted research that could be fit within the general sphere of bioweapons research. It’s at this point that I would remind readers about the interactions between Rosemont Seneca and EcoHealth Alliance. Could the US be involved in something unseemly in this field in Ukraine? At this point, I don’t believe we have enough evidence to say with certainty, but as a friend is often heard to remind me about such things, “if there is any doubt, there is no doubt.” It’s a sentiment born more of a general experience with government and politics that takes a pessimistic view of those endeavors and the people engaged in them, but it’s often not far off the mark. In any event, this is an example of why the American people are right to doubt everything they’re being told, whether parties to the war in Ukraine, or by their own government and media.