Biological warfare has been on the tip of many people’s tongues since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year after many speculated that the virus was really a bioweapon that had accidentally leaked from a Chinese biolab. Although the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest study into the matter concluded that this theory is extremely unlikely, the narrative still persists to this day. Regardless of its ultimate veracity or lack thereof, this interpretation of events sparked widespread interest in the danger that biological weapons programs pose to humanity. It’s with this in mind that everyone should listen really closely to what Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev recently had to say about such threats.
He told Sputnik earlier this week that “In recent years, the US and its NATO allies have significantly stepped up biological research in many countries across the world. The US is developing individual action plans for each country based on the needs of national biological programmes, primarily military ones.” This builds upon what he said last month in an interview with the popular Russian business daily Kommersant where he accused America of developing such weapons in close proximity to his country’s and China’s borders. Unlike what Western pundits claim about him sensationally exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak for political reasons, Patrushev has actually been warning about these threats since as early as 2015 according to RT.
So seriously does Russia take this danger that Foreign Minister Lavrov just agreed to a biosecrutiy pact with Armenia during his latest visit to the South Caucasus country which holds the ignoble distinction of hosting one of those American facilities. It also hopes to reach similar agreements with other former Soviet states that have allowed the US to so provocatively operate within their borders. The top Russian diplomat said last May that “We have reached an intergovernmental memorandum with Tajikistan, are working on a similar document with our colleagues from Uzbekistan and are in consultations with other post-Soviet countries, including Kazakhstan, Armenia and other neighbors.”
Of consistent concern for Russia has been the US biolab in neighboring Georgia. Moscow voiced concerns about that facility in 2013 and then again in 2018, during which time Russian officials claimed that the lab was linked to over 70 deaths. The South Caucasus country’s former Minister of State Security publicly speculated that same year that the site was secretly a biological weapons center. The US and Georgia both deny the allegations, but amid unconfirmed claims that COVID-19 might have leaked from a Chinese biolab despite the WHO’s latest study dismissing that theory, it’s understandable why Russia would at the very least want to ensure that such an accident doesn’t ever happen right on its own borders.
As I wrote in an op-ed in April 2020 for CGTN, “The U.S. Needs To Open Up About Its Biological Laboratories In The Former USSR”. That’s the only way to put everyone’s legitimate worries at ease and prevent any accidental leaks of whatever it is that America might really be testing there. Nevertheless, these well-intended concerns have been dishonestly misportrayed as “disinformation” by the Western Mainstream Media, which claims that any talk about those facilities is nothing more than a “conspiracy theory” that’s possibly being peddled at the behest of the Russian security services. That’s not true, and it would be equally legitimate for average Americans to demand transparency of any Russian biolabs near its borders if they were ever built there.
Patrushev isn’t pushing an information warfare narrative but is publicly expressing his country’s legitimate security concerns about the shadowy biolabs that its peer competitor built in its backyard. These facilities might be exactly what they say they are, innocuous sites for testing various diseases and whatnot, or they might really be secret bioweapon factories. Nobody really knows for sure until the US and/or its former Soviet partners finally open up about what’s truly going on there. Russia is demanding answers on behalf of the whole world, and slowly but surely, it hopes to receive them before it’s too late and an accident happens at one of those sites which might make COVID-19 look like child’s play in hindsight.