Looming bacterial ‘Chernobyl’: US bioweapon labs continue expansion in Ukraine

Ukraine lives in anticipation of another epidemiological shock. Countries are predicting an abnormal outbreak of diphtheria this fall. After the last “revolution”, the population experienced several serious epidemics. Diptheria and atypical influenza, especially rampant in the Odessa region, and the return of poliomyelitis to the territory previously considered free from this virus (after which an emergency 3-time immunization of schoolchildren was carried out), a deadly outbreak of measles at the beginning of this year. Are these other less large-scale infectious-viral manifestations related to the activities of American biological laboratories operating in Ukraine under the wing of the Pentagon?

Immune systems of the majority of Ukrainians is far from perfect condition due to social and medical “reforms”. In the first year after regime was overthrowbn, the authorities did not buy any vaccines for the population at all. Then all the procurement functions were transferred to Western structures, and the procedures for immunization of the population are carried out under outside orders.

In Ukraine, there is no equipment to check the quality of vaccines. Only documents accompanying biomaterials are “checked”. The country was actually turned into a testing ground for pharmaceutical and microbiological compounds. Ukraine is ready to accept questionable, spoiled or overdue vaccines as humanitarian aid. After a huge scandal with the spoiled shipment of poliomyelitis vaccine last year, everything went quiet.

The last reliable, documented information about American biological laboratories appeared in the Ukrainian press in 2013. Of particular concern were plans to build a biological laboratory in the Kharkiv region (in the village of Silkostantsiya near Merefa, 75 km from the border with Russia). Then the villagers appealed for assistance to the Consul General of the Russian Federation SA Semenov.

At that time, the Americans created three biological laboratories for the study of animal pathogens – in Dnepropetrovsk, Lviv and Lugansk. But the Kharkov project, apparently, did not take place. However, the network of American laboratories is a closed topic, information about which only occasionally leaked through the walls of the Ministry of Health and the US embassy. Recently, there are no “leaks” – the Ministry of Health is now managed by an American CIA officer.

Since the beginning of the construction of these laboratories, journalists were officially invited only to open the facility in Odessa, where on June 15, 2010 at the anti-plague institute a ribbon was cut by the then US ambassador to Ukraine, John Tefft and Odessa Mayor Eduard Hurwicz.

From 2014 to the present day, there was only one official statement regarding the laboratories. In May 2015, the media reported on “the restoration of technical assistance to the United States of Ukraine in preventing the spread of technology, pathogens and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons.”

UNIAN agency writes” “The State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine (SES) is ready for cooperation in the field of biosafety,” said the head of the service, Svyatoslav Protas. “We highly appreciate the assistance of the US Department of Defense in achieving the Euro-Atlantic standards of biological protection and biosafety and improving the capabilities of the institutions of the state sanitary and epidemiological surveillance system.”

Representatives from the US Department of Defense, leading the program “Reducing biological threats in Ukraine” (“The Treaty on countering the threat of bioterrorism and preventing the spread of bacteriological weapons, technologies, materials and knowledge” was signed between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the US Department of Defense on August 29, 2005) , visited 6 laboratories.

Also, Protas said that 8 BSL-2 and BSL-3 laboratories were built, modernized and put into operation on the basis of microbiological institutes and laboratories of SES in Vinnytsia, Dnepropetrovsk, Zakarpattia, Lviv, Kharkiv, Kherson and Ternopil regions. The head of the SES did not recall the presence of the Central Reference Laboratory (TSRL) in Odessa, apparently, because it does not belong to his department. Meanwhile, the Americans took anti-plague institute and the laboratory of the veterinary service under the Pentagon patronage.

SES was completely shut down in 2016. On the eve of shutdown, all the chief sanitary doctors of the regional institutions were accused by Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov of corruption. But the labs stayed. However, modernized American laboratories immediately became secret installations objects, closed from prying eyes and any from controlling bodies.

Let’s pay attention to the word “knowledge” in the name of the project: “Prevention of the spread of technology, pathogens and knowledge.” What does this mean? That the project was aimed not only at stripping the microbiologic collections of Ukraine, who, among other things, had the status of a national treasure, but they could still try to develop their own vaccines. Now, this possibility does not exist.

The scientists tried to protest. The then head of the State institution “Ukrainian Anti-Plague Station” (Simferopol), Professor A. Haytovich declared in 2011:

“The concept poses the task of biosafety ahead of the healthcare tasks in Ukraine …

… The concept that the authors suggest as one that aims to reduce threats, in fact, in some cases, expands the research of dangerous pathogens. Currently, only 2 institutions can be involved in the research of the plague in the state (antiplague facilities), and when the surveillance system is reorganized there will be 13.

… The concept is aimed at the fact that Ukraine partially or completely loses its independence in studying these problems on its territory, and the biological safety system and the genetic characteristics of dangerous pathogens will become known to the structures of other states and can be used for bioterrorist activities that can lead to serious international incidents with the subsequent accusation of the state in international biological terrorism. “

The functionaries on the cameras have been saying all these years: thanks to US assistance in Ukraine, the response to outbreaks of infectious diseases, laboratory diagnostics, and biosecurity will improve. At the same time, even the American governors of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health repeat the opposite – about the increased risk of bio-threats in Ukraine, about immunization of the population on the level of “wild countries” – such as Afghanistan and the countries of Africa. The latest epidemics with hundreds of deaths, with the appearance of forgotten viruses, also do not inspire optimism.

But it causes suspicion still. Why are there no journalists in American laboratories, why there are no reports of their activities, why did Americans carry over their pathogen studies to this side of the planet?

To import bacterial cultures foreign to a certain range is risky even if safety standards are observed.

In the USSR, biosecurity was ensured by a system of stations stretching along the state borders, and a decentralized system of storage of strains operated. Each laboratory stored and studied microorganisms endemic for the given territory, experiments with live material to employees from other laboratories were allowed only on site. To import bacterial cultures foreign to a certain range was considered risky even if safety standards were observed. The Americans also set a condition for the consolidation of pathogenic strains in Ukraine only in the Odessa laboratory.

But it can also come out that the development in these biological laboratories will become a bio-weapon (or already become, steel). It is clear that from the invention of new pathogens to their impact on a group of people – one step. To create a bioweapon, large production capacities are not needed. Once for this purpose, only ordinary envelopes with anthrax spores inside were used. This happened in 2001, when five Americans died after contact with poisoned letters.

In the context of military operations, it can also be biological attacks in warzones, the development of drugs that can be used in the agricultural sector, exacerbating “sanctions problems”. But biotechnology, or bioweapons, can be directed not only at the population, but also at the animal world, which can undermine confidence, for example, in the meat industry – let us recall the frequent outbreaks of African swine fever. Some drugs raise fears that negatively affect the reproductive functions of the population, and experts view this project as a global system for monitoring and studying the impact of the latest types of viruses on a specific genotype and as an experiment to create new types of genetic biological weapons.

Is it worthwhile to believe in altruism of Americans who tried to create a large biobase in Merefa, at the side of their strategic adversary investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this program? If they invest money, then they want to make a profit, if not profit, then political benefits. And these laboratories may well be used to throw in viruses for the purpose of further selling antidotes from them.

In the end, these laboratories can play the role of the second Chernobyl. Ukraine does not have the means to localize even the minimal consequences from the leakage of bacteriological material into the environment in a small radius.

This project, we recall, began after the visit of Barack Obama (then still a senator) to Ukraine, which he, as president, recalled in the book “The Boldness of Hope: Reflections on the Re-creation of the American Dream” (Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming American Dream). Here is one of his memories:

“… in a quiet sleeping area of ​​Kiev we organized a tour of the Ukrainian institution (according to the laboratory of the Central SES – author) … we were led to a small refrigerator sealed with just a thread. The woman … took out several test tubes from the belly of the refrigerator, waved them 30 cm from my nose and said something in Ukrainian.

“It’s an anthrax,” the interpreter explained, pointing to the test tube in the right hand of the lady. “And this,” he said, pointing to the test tube in the woman’s left hand, “a plague.”

I turned back and noticed that Richard Lugar was already standing at the far wall of the room. “Would you like to see this closer, Dick?” I asked, and taking a few steps back myself.

… In my opinion, this is evidence of human insanity – a reminder of how empires destroy themselves. “

Viktor Svita, deputy chief doctor of the Central SES, at one time denied these statements, saying that there was no “plague” in the laboratory at all, and Obama just opened the refrigerator, showing how the cultures are stored. But ever since, in the minds of Americans, Ukrainian scientists have apparently remained “crazy madmen” who need to be controlled.