Moscow alleges that the U.S. is actively obstructing international efforts to end the use of biological weapons.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States of secretly attempting to involve other countries in research into biological weapons, and pointed out that Washington has handled such weapons badly in the past, according to RT.
Recent anthrax scare provides ammunition for Russia
Allegations over the handling of biological weapons are related to the recent investigation into the shipping of live anthrax spores from a U.S. military lab. The Pentagon has admitted that live samples were sent out by mistake to 51 labs located in 17 U.S. states and three other countries.
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that the shipment “posed a high risk of outbreak that threatened not only the US population, but also other countries, including Canada and Australia. Of great concern is the shipment of bacteria to a US military facility in a third country, the Osan Air Base in South Korea.”
Russia claims that further evidence of the mishandling of biological weapons is provided by an anthrax outbreak which occurred in 2001, also connected to a U.S. military lab.
Russia fears encirclement by U.S. biological weapons
Moscow is particularly concerned by the developments due to the fact that neighboring Georgia is home to a research facility dedicated to biohazard agents. Russia alleges that the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public and Animal Health Research, near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, is in fact a secret U.S. research facility.
“American and Georgian authorities are trying to cover up the real nature of this US military unit, which studies highly dangerous infectious diseases. The Pentagon is trying to establish similar covert medico-biological facilities in other countries [in Russia’s neighborhood],” the Russian ministry said.
Such actions are undermining efforts to end the use of biological weapons under the terms of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), an international treaty which was signed in 1972. Moscow also alleges that the U.S. blocked further talks over the BWTC.
The accusations are the latest in a series of statements in which Russia accuses the U.S. of violating international treaties on weapons control, non-proliferation and disarmament. Russia has been responding to an annual U.S. report on the issue, in which Washington accuses Moscow of a series of treaty violations.
Russia calls the report “megaphone diplomacy” and alleges that the U.S. is making no effort to resolve the differences between the two nations, and simply wants to judge Russia’s behavior.