UN Council will meet on Russian claim of US laboratories in Ukraine | USA News®
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN Security Council will meet on Friday at Russia’s request to discuss what Moscow claims are “US military biological activities on the territory of Ukraine.”
The Russian request, announced in a tweet on Thursday afternoon by its first deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, follows the Biden administration’s rejection of Russian accusations that Ukraine runs chemical and biological laboratories with the support from the United States.
Council diplomats confirmed the meeting would be held at 10 a.m. EST, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.
Responding to this week’s accusations by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova – without evidence – White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a public warning on Wednesday that Russia may be using chemical or biological weapons against Ukraine, the neighbor it invaded.
Psaki called Russia’s claim “absurd” and tweeted: “This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its new premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby called the Russian assertion a “stack of malarkey.”
Dmitry Chumakov, another Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, reiterated the accusation on Wednesday, urging Western media to cover “secret biological lab news in Ukraine”.
A tweet from the Russian Defense Ministry, following Polyansky’s tweet calling for a council meeting, referred to a “briefing on the results of the analysis of documents related to US military biological activities on the territory of the ‘Ukraine”.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated on Thursday what he said on Wednesday – that the World Health Organization, which works with the Ukrainian government, “said it was not aware of any activity on the part of the Government of Ukraine that would be inconsistent with its international treaty obligations”. , including chemical or biological weapons”.
For months, the United States has warned against Russian “false flag” operations to create a pretext for invasion.
The White House warning suggested that Russia may seek to create a pretext to further escalate the two-week-old conflict that has seen the Russian offensive slowed by stronger-than-expected Ukrainian defenders, but not stopped.
The international community has for years assessed that Russia used chemical weapons to carry out assassination attempts against Putin’s enemies like Alexey Navalny, now in a Russian prison, and former spy Sergei Skripal, who lives in the Kingdom. -United. Russia also supports the Assad government in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against its people during an 11-year civil war.
The Security Council held its monthly meeting Thursday on Syria’s chemical weapons with UN disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu criticizing the Syrian government for repeatedly refusing to answer questions about its weapons program chemicals and urging the Assad government to do so.
Last June, the head of the international chemical weapons watchdog, Fernando Arias, said his experts investigated 77 allegations against Syria and concluded that in 17 cases chemical weapons were probably or definitely used.
Nakamitsu, who is expected to brief the Security Council on Friday, ended his statement Thursday by saying, “The use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international law and an affront to our common humanity.”
“We must remain vigilant to ensure that these dreadful weapons are never used again and are eliminated, not only in Syria, but everywhere,” she said.
US Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills said that, unfortunately, Syria was getting help from its Russian ally, which he said “has repeatedly spread misinformation about the repeated use of ‘chemical weapons by Syria’.
“The recent web of lies that Russia has unleashed in an attempt to justify the premeditated and unjustified war it has undertaken against Ukraine, should make it clear, once and for all, that Russia cannot be trusted either. Russia when talking about the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Mills said.
Britain’s Deputy Ambassador James Kariuki told the council that “the parallels” between Russia’s action in Ukraine – “besieging cities, killing civilians indiscriminately, forcing millions to flee into quest for security” – and its actions in Syria “are clear”. ”
“Unfortunately, the comparison extends to chemical weapons as well, as we see the familiar specter of Russian disinformation on chemical weapons rearing its head in Ukraine,” he said.
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