Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that the United States appeared to be running a clandestine biological weapons lab in the country of Georgia, allegedly flouting international conventions and posing a direct security threat to Russia — allegations the Pentagon angrily rejected.
The exceptional accusations from Moscow came the same day U.S., British and Dutch officials accused Russian military intelligence of being behind multiple cyberattacks.
Maj. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, alleged at a briefing that the lab in Georgia was part of a network of U.S. labs near the borders of Russia and China.
The allegations were based largely on materials about the U.S.-funded Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, Georgia. Kirillov claimed the documents released by former Georgian State Security Minister Igor Giorgadze showed the facility was funded entirely by the U.S and the Georgian ownership it has on paper was a cover.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon strongly rejected Kirillov’s claims, calling them “an invention of the imaginative and false Russian disinformation campaign against the West” and “obvious attempts to divert attention from Russia’s bad behavior on many fronts.”
“The U.S. is not developing biological weapons in the Lugar Center,” Pahon said.
He said the lab, a joint human and veterinary public health facility, was owned and operated by the Georgian National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), not the United States.
Read More: AP