US developing bioweapons in secret lab in Georgia: Russia
Russia has called on the United States to explain experiments with biological and chemical weapons in Georgia, with various Russian officials warning Washington that Moscow won’t tolerate such trials near its borders.
Major General Igor Kirillov, Chief of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops, revealed during an interview with the state news agency TASS on Thursday that the US was running a secret chemical weapons lab at the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center, located in the Georgian settlement of Alekseyevka.
Kirillov said the patents indicated possible plans by the US military to develop specific capsules that could be filled with poisonous, radioactive, narcotic substances as well as with infectious disease pathogens.
"These munitions are not related to the list of conventional armaments and humane tools of warfare, while the publication of this information contradicts international accords on the prohibition of biological weapons," Kirillov added.
The official said the Georgia center was part of a network of such weapons labs the US had established near the borders of Russia and China.
Kirillov went on to accuse the US of testing deadly drugs and highly lethal biological agents on patients at the Lugar Center under the guise of medical research.
In one case, he said, over 70 people lost their lives after they were given the drug Solvadi, manufactured by the US-based Gilead Sciences, in which former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is a key shareholder.
"Even during widespread epidemics at in-patient infection clinics, such a large number of lethal cases has never been recorded," the general said. He said the same medication was approved by Russia and "not a single lethal case was recorded during its clinical testing."
Vladimir Shamanov, the Head of Russia’s State Duma (Lower House of Parliament) Defense Committee, said Moscow was going to take all the necessary political and military steps in response to the experiments.
"We cannot just turn a blind eye, knowing that something, which directly affects security on the southern borders, is happening there. We will take diplomatic and military measures," he confirmed.
Vladimir Yermakov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, took a similar line, telling reporters that Moscow had already raised the issue with Washington.
"We told [the Americans] that we won’t let your military biologists do something strange on the Russian border," Yermakov said.