Russia Rejects Bioweapons Talk in U.S. Congress as ‘Propaganda’

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 13, 2014, 8:31 a.m.

Rus­sia ac­cused U.S. law­makers of host­ing “a pro­pa­ganda event” last week to ex­am­ine its bio­lo­gic­al-weapons po­ten­tial, In­ter­fax re­ports.

The Rus­si­an for­eign min­istry dis­missed as­ser­tions in May 7 con­gres­sion­al testi­mony that Mo­scow may con­tin­ue to over­see a bio­lo­gic­al-arms pro­gram. The min­istry blamed the United States for the ab­sence of a mon­it­or­ing sys­tem un­der the Bio­lo­gic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion, which pro­hib­its mem­ber na­tions from de­vel­op­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing or pos­sess­ing bio­lo­gic­al ma­ter­i­als for use in com­bat.

“Rus­sia sup­ports con­sist­ently en­han­cing [the treaty] by draft­ing and passing an ad­di­tion­al leg­ally bind­ing pro­tocol stip­u­lat­ing, among oth­er things, nondis­crim­in­at­ory and ef­fi­cient veri­fic­a­tion meas­ures,” the min­istry ar­gued in pre­pared com­ments.

The United States uni­lat­er­ally cut short a dec­ade of “sig­ni­fic­ant work” by treaty sig­nat­or­ies to es­tab­lish veri­fic­a­tion pro­ced­ures, and since that time has re­mained stead­fast in its op­pos­i­tion to a mon­it­or­ing re­gime, the Rus­si­an of­fice stated.

Rus­sia is­sued the re­marks in re­ac­tion to a hear­ing of the House For­eign Af­fairs Sub­com­mit­tee on Europe, where Uni­versity of Mary­land seni­or schol­ar Milton Leiten­berg said the ex­ist­ence of a Rus­si­an bio­lo­gic­al-arms pro­gram can­not be ruled out be­cause Mo­scow does not per­mit out­side ac­cess to key fa­cil­it­ies of con­cern.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, “It is sur­pris­ing that cer­tain rep­res­ent­at­ives of the U.S. es­tab­lish­ment con­tin­ue de­mand­ing uni­lat­er­al ac­cess to the Rus­si­an bio­lo­gic­al fa­cil­it­ies amid the U.S. re­fus­al from such a fair and clear [veri­fic­a­tion] mech­an­ism. Such de­mands are in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­ac­cept­able.”

The for­eign of­fice ad­ded that par­ti­cipants in the con­gres­sion­al hear­ing mis­in­ter­preted a 2012 art­icle in which Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin said “ge­net­ic” tech­no­lo­gies could pave the way for more soph­ist­ic­ated bio­lo­gic­al arms.

The lead­er sug­ges­ted that such tech­niques “could be used abroad,” but the “thought was turned up­side down at the hear­ing in the Con­gress,” the Rus­si­an min­istry said.

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