Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaks at the United Nations in New York City on Sept. 27, 2019. (EuropaNewswire – Gado / Getty Images)
By Isa Cox March 9, 2022 at 5:14pm
Russian and U.S. officials alike have provided considerable fuel for a claim about bioweapons allegedly being developed in Ukraine that was dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory exactly five minutes ago and is now shaping up to be far more substantial than we were condescendingly told by the establishment media’s sainted “fact-checkers.”
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, claimed that Moscow has uncovered evidence of a U.S.-backed bioweapons program in Ukraine that includes the development of plague and anthrax.
“Recently found documents show that components of biological weapons were made in Ukraine’s laboratories, with funding from [the U.S. Department of Defense], in direct proximity to Russia,” a tweet from the U.K.’s Russian Embassy stated.
MFA spox #Zakharova: Recently found documents show that components of biological weapons were made in #Ukraine‘s laboratories, with funding from #US @DeptofDefense, in direct proximity to #Russia. pic.twitter.com/JeLrWDqduA
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) March 9, 2022
American and Ukrainian officials were quick not only to deny the claims but to do so emphatically.
A spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “Ukraine strictly denies any such allegation,” Reuters reported, while a Pentagon spokesperson said, “This absurd Russian misinformation is patently false.”
China, on the other hand, was keenly receptive to the notion, and we’d be remiss not to mention that China just so happens to be the location of the lab that received funding from the U.S. in the years leading up to the pandemic and just so happened to be researching weaponized coronaviruses at the time the pandemic started.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed up with a call for the U.S. to account for its bioweapons research overseas.
Do you believe the U.S. backed bioweapons research in Ukraine?
“Russia has found during its military operations that the U.S. uses these facilities to conduct military plans,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday, according to Real Clear Politics.
“The U.S. has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone. It should give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification,” the ministry tweeted.
The US has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone. It should give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification. pic.twitter.com/vEiytBRKuo
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) March 8, 2022
Now, let’s stop right here and make it abundantly clear that we not only can but absolutely must take anything conveyed by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries with a cattle ranch-grade salt lick right about now, as we probably ought to have done even before Russia invaded Ukraine and China signaled a willingness to take advantage of the whole situation for the sake of its own aggressive aspirations of global dominance.
However… there’s a pretty big “however” here.
On Tuesday, the U.S. undersecretary of state, Victoria Nuland, testified during a Senate hearing that the U.S. is actively working to protect Ukrainian research labs from the Russians, Real Clear Politics reported.
Yeah, that’s kind of a major plot twist in the whole sordid affair of nefarious foreign powers claiming the U.S. is funding bioweapons research in Ukraine.
Nuland, an Obama State Department alum who was accused by some pundits on the right of allowing neo-Nazi elements to seize power in Ukraine in 2014 as well as a major player in the Russiagate scandal, was asked point-blank about the biological research labs by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?” he asked.
She replied by not only affirming the existence of the labs but, amazingly, revealing that the U.S. is actually working with Ukraine to prevent them from being seized by Russian forces.
What’s more, she neither confirmed nor denied that the labs were producing bioweapons — but did insist that, if there were a biological attack, Russia would be 100 percent to blame.
“Ukraine has biological research facilities which, in fact, we’re now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” Nuland said.
“I’m sure you’re aware that the Russian propaganda groups are already putting out there all kinds of information about how they have uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to release biological weapons in the country, and with NATO’s coordination,” Rubio then noted.
“If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside of Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100 percent it would be the Russians that would be behind it?” he asked.
“There is no doubt in my mind, senator,” Nuland stated. “It is classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they are planning to do themselves.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out the stunning implication of this exchange.
Ukraine has “biological research facilities,” says Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, when asked by Sen Rubio if Ukraine has biological or chemical weapons, and says she’s worried Russia may get them. But she says she’s 100% sure if there’s a biological attack, it’s Russia. pic.twitter.com/uo3dHDMfAS
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 8, 2022
Really good cleanup by Rubio: interrupting Nuland’s bizarre confession, which he did not expect, and immediately directing her to say that if there’s a biological attack, it must be Russia.
Why is she so concerned Russia would seize such a benign “biological research facility”?
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 8, 2022
I had the same question as Greenwald: If these Ukrainian research labs are not developing bioweapons, as the U.S. and Ukraine insist, why is Russia so intent on taking them? What’s more, why is the U.S. so intent on protecting them?
This is truly extraordinary stuff, and I’m not even sure it’s necessary to provide any further commentary, to be entirely honest, since Nuland’s comments and the accusations from Russia and China are so fascinating at face value.
In many ways, Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine is the physical manifestation of an already raging global information war, and it’s made it clearer than ever how difficult it is to know who to believe.
This much we know to be true: Russia and China have made a point of accusing the U.S. of funding biological weapons research in Ukraine, and the U.S. has admitted that we’re working to protect Ukrainian labs from the Russians.
It may certainly be the case that, as the U.S. works to aid Ukraine as best we can without launching global war, we are simply protecting the labs out of the altruistic goodness of State Department officials’ hearts.
OK. That’s a possibility.
On the other hand — and we absolutely must consider this as well, as it is disturbingly consistent with what we know took place in Wuhan, China — it could be that the U.S. has, in fact, been funding biological weapons research in Ukraine.
I cannot and will not make a bold claim either way, but I can pose the question to you, dear reader: Which seems more likely in light of Nuland’s comments and the last two years of world history as a whole?
Be very careful with everything you read, hear and see right now, folks. As Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan astutely noted decades ago, “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.”