ISTANBUL: China asked Washington on Tuesday to release “relevant details as soon as possible” regarding alleged US biological laboratories in Ukraine.
“According to the data released by the US itself, the US has 26 biological laboratories and other related facilities in Ukraine which has indeed attracted great attention,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a media briefing in Beijing.
A similar claim was made Sunday by Russian Defence Ministry that there was “evidence of a US-financed military biological programme developed in Ukraine.”
Moscow said the lab was “revealed during Russia’s special operation in that country.”
“All dangerous viruses in Ukraine must be stored in these laboratories. All research activities are led by the US. No information is allowed to be disclosed without the permission of the US side,” claimed Zhao, according to a transcription of the news conference.
He claimed the Pentagon “has absolute control” over these alleged labs.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
The West has also imposed biting export restrictions on key technologies that are now prohibited from being sent to Russia.
At least 406 civilians have been killed and 801 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to UN figures.
But the international body has maintained that conditions on the ground have made it “difficult to verify” the true number of casualties.
As many as two million people have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
“Under the current situation, we call on all parties concerned to ensure the safety of these laboratories, starting from the health and safety of people in Ukraine and surrounding areas and around the world,” said Zhao.
“In particular, the US, as the party that knows these laboratories best, should announce the relevant details as soon as possible, including which viruses have been stored and which research has been carried out,” he said. “The revelation of the US bio-military activity in Ukraine is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“The US Department of Defence controls 336 biological laboratories in 30 countries around the world under the names of ‘cooperating to reduce biosecurity risks and strengthening global public health,’” Zhao added.