GENEVA, December 16. /TASS/. Russia will seek answers from the US to the voiced questions about its military biological operations in Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said Friday, answering a question from TASS.
Summarizing the discussion that took place during the 9th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention between November 28 and December 16 in Geneva, the Russian envoy underscored that Washington’s military-biological activity in Ukraine concerns Moscow. The calls for the US to provide explanations in this regard are being left without substantial reaction, Gatilov, who led the Russian delegation to the forum, said. The envoy noted that this issue was discussed earlier during consultative meetings, a UN Security Council meeting, as well as during the last BWC conference.
"What will our next step be? We will continue to insist [on receiving substantial answers from the US]," Gatilov said.
"A significant number of states, like us, believe that it is necessary to discuss this issue, because, let’s put it straight, we have not received any substantial answers to our legitimate questions," Gatilov said. "The only thing that we have heard from the US is that all this is ‘Russian propaganda’ and that they ‘do not violate the convention’."
Russia’s position is different, the diplomat continued. Many states "share this approach and would like to hear more detailed and specific answers [from the US] to these legitimate questions," Gatilov said.
Previously, Russian Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops Commander Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said that Russia is particularly concerned that, since 2001, the US has been blocking all international initiatives on BWC verification. The US and Ukraine omit the biological laboratories’ operation in their annual Convention implementation within the trust-building measures, despite these laboratories’ obvious military-biological nature. Kirillov noted that, since 2010, an incidence spike of brucellosis, Congo-Crimean fever, West Nile fever and African swine plague was registered on Russian territories bordering Ukraine.