Guest post by Lawrence Sellin
Level-Setting the Ukraine Biolab Controversy
Over the last day, the Gateway Pundit has published several informative articles related to the controversy surrounding a number of Ukrainian microbiological laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, see here, here, here, here and here.
Unfortunately, the facts concerning the laboratories in question have been obscured by propaganda from the United States, Russia, China and the European Union, as well as efforts by news organizations and individuals to either downplay or exaggerate those facts.
Bottom line up front – So far, there is no evidence that offensive biological weapons have been produced by U.S. government-funded laboratories in Ukraine.
According to deleted, but internet-archived U.S. Department of State documents, there are at least 11 microbiology laboratories in Ukraine for which the U.S. Department of Defense paid construction or renovation costs.
It is unclear if the U.S. government is paying for the operational costs of those eleven laboratories.
The documents published by Russia contained in a March 6, 2022 Tweet do not mention anthrax or plague as claimed, but call for the destruction of bacteria which cause common infectious diseases, none of which are considered biological weapons.
There are no registered high containment Biosafety Level-4 facilities in Ukraine.
Ukraine has four Biosafety Level-3 facilities, one of which, the Ukrainian I. I. Mechnikov Anti-Plague Research Institute in Odessa, was described in a 2010 media article as a center capable of conducting research on “dangerous pathogens used by bioterrorists” such as “anthrax, tularemia and Q fever as well as other dangerous pathogens.”
The following figure lists the four Biosafety Level-3 facilities in Ukraine, their locations, size and activities, which are primarily for the detection and identification of dangerous pathogens.
As one who worked in a Biosafety Level-3 facility at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland, I can attest that there are distinct differences in methodologies between detection and identification of pathogens or research related to medical defenses for such pathogens and bioweapon development.
The presence of dangerous pathogens in laboratories or the fact that experiments are being conducted with them are not necessarily violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which allows defensive research.
Yes, the U.S. government has been deceptive and incompetent in addressing the questions related to the Ukraine biolab controversy.
Nevertheless, at present, no scientific evidence exists directly demonstrating bioweapon development by U.S.-funded research laboratories in Ukraine.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He had a civilian career in international business and medical research. His email address is [email protected].