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US admits Ukraine has 'biological research facilities'

US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland testifies before a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on Ukraine on March 8, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Getty images)

The United States has admitted that Ukraine hosts “biological research facilities,” expressing concern that they could come under the control of Russian forces, as Moscow makes further advances following its military offensive in the country.

US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland expressed concern during a Senate hearing on Ukraine on Tuesday, after Russia published documents showing that Kiev was ordered to urgently eliminate traces of what was deemed as a biological weapons program, financed by the Pentagon.

“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” she said.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had found evidence of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine, which had urgently destroyed samples of deadly pathogens when the military offensive started.

The ministry said it had been closely monitoring the bioweapons programs that were developed by the Pentagon in post-Soviet countries, adding that  according to new findings, a “network” of more than 30 biological laboratories was formed in Ukraine in particular.

Documentation was received from Ukrainian biological research laboratories on the urgent destruction of dangerous pathogens on February 24, including anthrax, cholera, and the plague, in what could be a cover-up of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) violations.

The Russian Defense Ministry's spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said that the documents were being analyzed by the military, adding that the Pentagon had been experiencing difficulties in continuing its secret biological experiments with the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Konashenkov said facilities in Ukraine were developing components for biological weapons, noting that in the near future, the ministry would release its analysis of the received documents.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Russian forces have been advancing in Ukraine since then, overrunning the city of Kherson and besieging the port of Mariupol.

In a recent development, Russia says it has opened humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave the besieged areas.

The military conflict has so far displaced more than two million people in what the United Nations has described as the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

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