In April 2021, President Putin’s chief security adviser claimed that Moscow has “good reason to believe” that the US was developing biological weapons along the borders of Russia and China.
The secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, made the comments during an interview with the newspaper Kommersant after journalist Elena Chernenko asked him about allegations that China had “deliberately caused” the covid pandemic.
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Newsweek reports: Defending Beijing, Patrushev replied: “I suggest that you look at how more and more biological laboratories under U.S. control are growing considerably in the world and by a strange coincidence, mainly by the Russian and Chinese borders.”
Russia shares land borders with 16 countries—the most of any nation in the world. China shares frontiers with 14 countries, as well as the special administrative region of Hong Kong. Patrushev did not name any specific countries, but said: “Americans help local scientists develop new ways to fight dangerous diseases.”
“We and our Chinese partners have questions. We are told that there are peaceful sanitary and epidemiological stations near our borders, but for some reason, they are more more reminiscent of Fort Detrick in Maryland, where Americans have been working in the field of military biology for decades.”
He added that the authorities in those jurisdictions had “no real idea of what is happening within their walls,” and that there were outbreaks “uncharacteristic for these regions” in neighboring areas—although he did not specify any disease.
When asked directly if he believed the Americans are developing biological weapons there, Patrushev said: “We have good reason to believe that this is exactly the case.”
A U.S. State Department spokesperson dismissed Patrushev’s accusations as “groundless,” telling Newsweek in a statement that it was “the latest in a long series of allegations about U.S. collaboration with foreign partners on public health matters.
“Russia is making efforts to deflect attention from their own non-compliance—as most recently seen with the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny with an illegal chemical weapon,” the statement said.
“It is Russia, not the United States, that has a record of non-compliance with both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Patrushev went on to reject accusations that Russia developed and used chemical weapons, including against the former spy Sergei Skripal and the Kremlin critic Navalny.
“There is zero evidence,” said Patrushev, who was formerly the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). “Only speculation.”