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U.S. Dismisses Russian Claims of Biowarfare Labs in Ukraine

Russia repeated its accusation of several years that the United States is working with Ukrainian laboratories to develop biological weapons.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attends the annual news conference of acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attends the annual news conference of acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

The United States on Wednesday denied renewed Russian accusations that Washington was operating biowarfare labs in Ukraine, calling the claims “laughable” and suggesting Moscow may be laying the groundwork to use a chemical or biological weapon.

Late on Tuesday, Russia repeated its accusation of several years that the United States is working with Ukrainian laboratories to develop biological weapons. Such assertions in Russian media increased in the run-up to Moscow’s military move into Ukraine and were made as recently as Wednesday by foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

“The Russian accusations are absurd, they are laughable and you know, in the words of my Irish Catholic grandfather, a bunch of malarkey. There’s nothing to it. It’s classic Russian propaganda,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.

In a statement, also released on Wednesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Russia “is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, citing what she called Russia’s “false claims,” wrote on Twitter: “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.”

There was no immediate response from the Russian embassy in Washington to the U.S. assertions on Wednesday. Russia has denied carrying out an attack on Navalny.

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