Question by PM on May 10, 2022.
Like CheckNews In detail in a previous article, the Ukrainian and Georgian laboratories – partners of the US program to combat biological hazards – were offered by Russia, for many years, as biological weapons production sites. This is while many of these sites have been opened to Russian inspection, or have established partnerships with Russian researchers. Shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin claimed that documents proving the validity of this thesis were discovered in these famous laboratories.
On March 10, Igor Kirillov, commander of the Russian force for protection against radiation, chemical and biological products, highlighted the existence of a project His aim was to investigate the possibility of a particularly dangerous infection being spread by migratory birds, in particular highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza, Which can have a lethal force for humans of up to 50%, as well as Newcastle disease.” He also claimed to have evidence “For the prominent role of the US Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in financing and conducting military biological research in Ukraine.”
Claims announced without evidence
On March 12, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, in turn, said that Ukrainian researchers are being funded by the United States. “I investigated the possibility of transmission of pathogens by wild migratory birds between Russia and Ukraine, as well as other neighboring countries.” In these statements, Russian officials mentioned the projects called “P444” and “UP-4”, and the fact that documents incriminating the United States will soon be made public.
The advertisement was picked up in various Russian media. The United States was working to create a powerful biological weapon. The purpose of the project was to spread particularly dangerous infections through migratory birds.Can we read as early as March 10 in Pravda.
However, the evidence for these claims has not yet been made public. The reason may be quite simple: the projects cited by the Russian authorities are already known to the scientific community, since they were the subject of publications in specialized journals in 2016 or 2018. This work on the sequence of viruses transmitted by migratory birds, explicitly referring to the financial support of DTRA, the program United States Department of Defense Biological Threat Reduction.
Many of these publications also specify in black and white that this research is related to the “P444” program. The affiliation of Ukrainian researchers to the UP-4 project of the DTRA is mentioned in several online documents, which show the full name of the project: “Risk assessment of some potentially dangerous pathogens carried by migratory birds over Ukraine”. The project is also mentioned on the website of the US Embassy in Ukraine.
There is no evidence to suggest intentional distraction
In fact, DTRA was contacted by CheckNewsconfirms the existence of this work and their participation in the financing. “The UP-4 project, in which four entities from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture participated, involved training of Ukrainian personnel to collect samples in a safe and humane manner from wild birds, to identify pathogens that could harm Ukrainian flocks of poultry, or spread between humans,” Agency details.
The researchers analyzed the prevalence of zoonoses from infected wild birds, and determined their impact on domestic birds. The project identified the associated risks through the use of mapping techniques, and enabled Ukraine to direct protection resources to the prevention of Newcastle disease and avian influenza viruses, thereby reducing disease risks in Ukraine “, Add DTRA. And insist on the fact that all this research “They were performed publicly, publicly presented, and eventually led to results being published online in scientific journals.”
Therefore, at this time, there is no element to suggest that the projects to study migratory animals that have been questioned by the Russian authorities are related to a project of deliberate dispersal of pathogens.
On the other hand, this fear of migratory birds being used for military purposes, echoes real research conducted by the Smithsonian Institution in the mid-1960s. Washington Post It has been documented that research on bird migration in the Pacific islands has been funded by the military, with a dual purpose: to identify sites where biological experiments can be carried out without the risk of the spread of avian pathogens, and, conversely, to identify migration routes conducive to attacks in the territories the enemy. The program was permanently discontinued in June 1970.