Russia Claims U.S. Using COVID Samples to Create Bioweapons in Ukraine

As part of the attempts to push misinformation to justify its invasion, Russia is falsely claiming that the U.S. is experimenting with "bat coronavirus" to create biological weapons in Ukraine.

Russia's armed forces claimed, without evidence, to have found proof that the Pentagon has been financing biological studies in the Eastern European country in order to carry out the "covert spread of deadly pathogens."

The speculation was presented (again, without any evidence) and arrived after Russia had already attempted to revive a years-old conspiracy that there exists U.S.-military labs in Ukraine developing germ warfare capabilities.

"According to the documents, in Ukraine, in 2022, the American side planned to conduct works on bird, bat and reptile pathogens, then subsequently proceeding to researching the possibility of them transmitting African swine fever and anthrax," Russian Defence Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters, via the Russian news agency TASS.

"As the documents show, at the biological labs created and financed in Ukraine, experiments were held with the samples of bat coronavirus. The goal of this and other biological studies in Ukraine financed by Pentagon was the creation of a mechanism of the covert spread of deadly pathogens."

A number of U.S. officials have denied the accusations from Russia that the county is operating biowarfare labs in Ukraine, which have dated back years.

In a statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Kremlin is "intentionally spreading outright lies" with its claims that the U.S. and Ukraine are working together to create biological weapons.

"This Russian disinformation is total nonsense and not the first time Russia has invented such false claims against another country," Price said. "Also, these claims have been debunked conclusively and repeatedly over many years."

Price added that Moscow is "inventing false pretexts" in an attempt to justify its "own horrific actions" in Ukraine.

"Russia has a track record of accusing the West of the very crimes that Russia itself is perpetrating. These tactics are an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attacks on Ukraine."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also described the allegations as "absurd" and "laughable."

"There's nothing to it. It's classic Russian propaganda," Kirby said.

In a series of tweets, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed the suggestion that the U.S. is developing chemical weapons in Ukraine as "preposterous."

Psaki added: "It's the kind of disinformation operation we've seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent.

"It's Russia that has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and poisoning of Putin's political enemies like Alexey Navalny."

The Pentagon and the Russian Defence Ministry has been contacted for comment.

covid lab ukraine
(File photo) A lab technician sorts blood samples for COVID-19 vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on August 13, 2020 CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/Getty Images