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US starts vast military-biological program in states near Russia, Russian official says

MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. The United States has launched a vast military-biological program in the territories of several countries neighboring Russia, the chief of Russia’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, Major General Igor Kirillov, told a news briefing on Thursday.

He said the Defense Ministry’s specialists had scrutinized materials made public by Georgia’s former state security minister, Igor Giorgadze, about US activities underway at the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center in Alekseyevka, near Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

"The Lugar Center is merely a tiny element of the United States’ vast military biological program. Large-scale activity has been launched in the territories of states neighboring Russia, where the Pentagon-controlled laboratories are functioning. Laboratory buildings continue to be upgraded in Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan."

Kirillov said the laboratories were collecting information about infectious diseases and taking out of the host countries the national collections of strains of pathogenic microorganisms, including vaccine-and antibiotics-resistant ones.

"The financing of such activity in 2017-2019 will total about $1 billion. In 2019 alone more than $197 million will be provided for research and military-technological projects in accordance with the US administration’s request," Kirillov said.

He added that the United States was stepping up its biological potential and control of the national collections of pathogenic microorganisms not only in the post-Soviet space.

"At the moment there are more than 30 US-controlled laboratories - operational and being permanently upgraded - with high levels of biological protection. Official UN statistics confirm this. Their capabilities allow for conducting the full range of research into the pathogens of extremely dangerous infectious diseases," Kirillov said.

He pointed out the Defense Ministry was certain that the choice of locations of such laboratories was not accidental.

"Many of them are in countries neighboring Russia and China, being a permanent source of biological threats to both countries," he stated.