United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed Russia’s attempts to lie about allegations of biological weapons in Ukraine once again Friday morning.
“As I said one week ago, Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program. There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories – not near Russia’s border, not anywhere. There are only public health facilities, proudly, and I say proudly, supported and recognized by the US government, the World Health Organization, and other governments and international institutions,” Thomas-Greenfield said in prepared remarks to the UN Security Council.
Ukrainian and US officials have repeatedly debunked claims of US-supported biological programs in Ukraine.
Friday’s emergency session was called by Russia after they announced Thursday that they would not call for a vote on their humanitarian draft resolution on Ukraine.
Thomas-Greenfield instead said “it is Russia that has a well-documented history of using chemical weapons” and that Friday’s meeting is ‘the result of their isolation on this Council and on the world stage.’
“We aren’t going to dignify Russia’s disinformation or conspiracy theories,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “I will not repeat the slurs and false accusations that Russia has hurled against the Ukrainian people and the United States repeatedly at this table. But we know that Russia’s disinformation is a sign of its desperation. That’s the truth, and we will continue to ensure the world sees it and hears it.”
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia claimed Friday that new details show evidence of US-supported biological weapons in Ukraine.
“Over the last week, new details have come to light which allows to state that the components for biological weapons were being created on the territory of Ukraine,” Nebenzia said in translated remarks to the council. “We can see that the American colleagues were not helping, as they claim, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, but rather the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.”
Nebenzia claimed that a new document distributed to the council Friday morning “confirms direct funding and supervision of the Pentagon and its defense threat reduction agency of military and biological projects in Ukraine.”
“The representative of the US State Department continue to muddle the information and ascertain that the US allegedly does not operate in any biological laboratories in the territory of Ukraine, but the facts show otherwise,” the Russian ambassador claimed.
More context: There are US-funded biolabs in Ukraine, but they are not building bioweapons. Actually, it’s the opposite: Part of the reason for their creation was to secure old Soviet weapons left behind in the former Soviet republics. The State Department has described the claims as nonsense — and the US and Ukrainian governments have repeatedly, and for years now, tried to bat down conspiracy theories about the labs and spoken about the work that is actually being done in them.
Russia’s falsehoods about labs like this have not been limited to Ukraine, and the country has been pushing various bits of disinformation about the US and biological weapons since the Cold War.
CNN’s Kiely Westhoff and Donie O’Sullivan contributed reporting to this post.