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Biden admin warns Russia may use ‘chemical or biological weapons’ in Ukraine

White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki. (Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 10, 2022

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s administration warned that Russia may use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine after a top U.S. diplomat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week that Ukraine has labs which the U.S. is working to keep out of Russian control. At the same time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Ukraine of operating chemical and biological weapons labs with the help of the United States.

“To be clear: this is preposterous,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, as reported by Fox News. She argued that it is “exactly the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries around the world, which have been debunked conclusively, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent.”

Psaki assured reporters that the United States is “in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere.”

“It’s Russia that has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and poisoning of Putin’s political enemies like Alexey Navalny,” she continued. “It’s Russia that continues to support the Assad regime in Syria, which has repeatedly used chemical weapons. It’s Russia that has long maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law.”

Additionally, Psaki highlighted Russia’s “track record of accusing the West of the very violations that Russia itself is perpetrating.”

“This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” Psaki said. “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.”

One day earlier, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Ukraine has “biological research facilities” that Russian forces want to control.

“Ukraine has biological research facilities which in fact we are quite concerned Russian troops, 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,” Nuland said, answering a question from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about the existence of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.

Nuland said that any chemical or biological attack in Ukraine will undoubtedly come from Russia, adding that it is “classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they’re planning to do themselves.”