New information on US biological weapons work in Ukraine

From Strategic Stability

Report # 96. More details on the US military-biological activity in Ukraine

July 8, 2022

On July 7th the Russian MoD arranged a briefing on the results of analysing documents related to the military-biological activity of the USA in Ukraine. The speaker was Lt-Gen Igor Kirillov, the head of radiological, chemical and biological defense. Russian Armed Forces.

“The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation continues analysing the military-biological activity of the USA and its allies in Ukraine and other regions of the world in view of new information received at the liberated territories and at the branch offices of the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) that form a unified information network.

We have previously stated that the Ukrainian project of the Pentagon do not meet the pertinent healthcare problems of Ukraine, while their implementation has not led to any improvement of the sanitary-epidemiological situation.

The special military operation has led to forming the final report on DTRA activity dated from 2005 to 2016. The document contains the data on evaluation of healthcare, veterinary and biosecurity system efficiency prepared by a group of U.S. experts in 2016.

This report is a concept document designed for further planification of military-biological activity of the Pentagon in Ukraine that contains conclusions on implementation of the programme guidelines.

Despite the more than 10-year-long period of cooperation in the alleged ‘…reduction of biological threats…’, the experts have stated:

‘…There is no legislation on the control of highly dangerous pathogens in the country, there are significant deficiencies in biosafety… The current state of resources makes it impossible for laboratories to respond effectively to public health emergencies…’

The document emphasises that ‘…over the past five years, Ukraine has shown no progress in implementing international health regulations of the World Health Organisation’.

The report pays particular attention to non-compliance with biosafety requirements when working and storing microbial collections.

It has been stated ‘…that most facilities are characterised by numerous gross violations, such as unlocked fencing systems, unlatching windows, broken or inactive pathogen restriction systems, lack of alarm systems…’ The results of the review conclude that there is no system for protecting dangerous pathogens in Ukraine.

At the same time, the activities of the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) have been assessed positively: the organisation has managed to bring the national collection of microorganisms to the United States, to organise biological assessment work and to implement projects to study particularly dangerous and economically significant infections that could cause a worsening (changing) epidemic situation.

The report makes the case for continuing this work on behalf of the Pentagon that has cost more than $250 million since 2005.

The document is annexed with ambiguous comments about the sponsors and implementers of the Biological Threat Reduction Programme in Ukraine that have nothing to do with biosecurity issues. In particular, the Soros Foundation is mentioned with the notation ‘…contributed to the development of an open and democratic society…’

It confirms again that the official activities of the Pentagon in Ukraine are just a front for illegal military and biological research.

We have repeatedly mentioned the role of U.S. Democratic Party representatives in funding bioweapons activities in Ukraine and the intermediary organisations that have been used for this purpose.

I would like to refer to one of the key Pentagon contractors receiving money from Hunter Biden’s investment fund, Metabiota.

The available data suggests that the company is merely a front for internationally dubious purposes and is used by the U.S. political elite to carry out opaque financial activities in various parts of the world.

There is a specific example: Metabiota was involved in the response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The activities of the company’s employees have raised questions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in terms of their compliance with biosafety requirements.

This is the report of the international panel of experts from the Haemorrhagic Fever Consortium who were involved in the fight against Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone in 2015. According to the document, Metabiota staff had failed to comply with handling procedures and concealed the involvement of Pentagon staff who were using the company as a front. The main purpose of these activities was to isolate highly virulent variants of the virus from sick and dead people, as well as to export its strains to the USA.

In view of the apparent failure of Metabiota’s activities to meet the goals of controlling the spread of the disease, the World Health Organisation’s Ebola coordinator, Philippe Barbosa, recommended to recall the staff of the company saying he was extremely concerned about the potential risks of such collaboration to WHO’s reputation.

The U.S. military contractor’s heightened interest in the Ebola virus is not a coincidence: the disease is one of the most pathogenic to humans. During the outbreak that began in 2014, 28,000 people were contaminated, over 11,000 of them died, the mortality rate was around 40%.

The special military operation has led to receiving documents that reveals the plans of Metabiota and the Ukrainian Scientific-Technological Centre to study the Ebola virus in Ukraine. This is the request for U.S. funding to diagnose highly dangerous pathogens in Ukraine, including Ebola virus. This kind of requests are part of U.S. strategy to redeploy high-risk work with dangerous pathogens to third countries.

The research was to be carried out at the Mechnikov Anti-Plague Institute in Odessa. As the disease is not endemic and has never been recorded in Ukraine indeed, there is a legitimate question about the need for such research and its true purpose.

We have already noted that Ukraine and other post-Soviet states have become a testing ground for biological weapons not only for the USA, but also for its NATO allies; on the first place, Germany. Various projects have been carried out on behalf of the Joint Medical Service of the German Armed Forces.

Bundeswehr professionals paid particular attention to the Congo-Crimean fever pathogen. A large-scale screening of the susceptibility of the local population to this infection was carried out and included summarising demographic, epidemiological and clinical data. This kind of approaches allows to identify new regional virus genotypes and to select strains that cause latent clinical forms.

The study of natural foci of Crimean-Congo fever was carried out under the pretext of improving the Ukrainian epidemiological surveillance system, with the participation of the Institute of Veterinary Medicine in Kiev and the Mechnikov Anti-Plague Institute in Odessa.

Bundeswehr’s interest in Crimean-Congo fever stems from the fact that mortality can be as high as 30% and its outbreaks create a need for lengthy and costly treatment, preventive and special handling measures.

This is a quote from Bundeswehr’s instructions:

‘…pay particular attention to fatal cases of infection with Crimean-Congo fever as it allows the virus strains with maximum pathogenicity and virulence for humans to be extracted from the dead individuals…’

Apart from Germany, microbiologists from the USA have shown a keen interest in tick-borne infections; research in this area has been funded by DTRA through the UP-1 and UP-8 projects.

A separate project on ixodid ticks that are vectors of a number of highly dangerous infections (tularemia, West Nile fever, Congo-Crimean fever) has been implemented by the University of Texas.

Ticks used to be collected in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine, where natural foci of infections characteristic of the territory of the Russian Federation are located. At the same time, the period of implementing this work coincided with a rapid increase in the incidence of tick-borne borreliosis among the Ukrainian population, as well as the increase in the number of ticks in various regions of Russia bordering Ukraine.

This issue is being studied by competent Russian professionals in coordination with professionals from the Ministry of Defence of Russia.

We have previously pointed out the significance of the results of the military-biological projects codenamed UP for the Pentagon.

Note the report prepared for the U.S. Defence Department by Black & Veatch and Metabiota. According to the document, Veterinary Projects codenamed ‘TAP’ were implemented simultaneously with the UP projects in Ukraine.

Their main guideline lies in economically significant quarantine infections capable of damaging the agriculture of several countries and entire regions, such as glanders, African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever, highly pathogenic avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

African swine fever with two projects dedicated to this pathogen represented particular interest to U.S. military biologists.

The TAP-3 project was aimed to study the spread of ASF pathogen through wild animals. The migration routes of wild boar through Ukraine had been examining within its framework. The TAP-6 project scaled this process up to Eastern European countries.

The study of vector populations of dangerous zoonotic infections was carried out by staff of the Institute of New Pathogens of the University of Florida (Gainesville) in Volyn, Rovno, Zhitomir and Chernigov regions of Ukraine, as well as in the areas bordering Belarus and Russia.

Note the worsening situation of African swine fever in Eastern European countries: According to the International Office of Epizootics, since 2014, outbreaks have been recorded in Latvia (4,021 cases), Estonia (3,814) and Lithuania (4,201). In Poland, more than 13,000 cases of ASF have been detected, and agricultural losses from the disease have exceeded 2.4 billion euro.

We have already emphasised the use of biological weapons in Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, I would like to focus on U.S. military-biological activities during the Korean War.

In March 2022, the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute published a report on the U.S. chemical and biological weapons programme during the Korean War. This report was aimed to create a possible line of defence against allegations of illegal activities carried out by U.S. biolaboratories in Ukraine.

The document attempts to refute the testimony of 38 U.S. military pilots who have admitted using biological weapons in China and Korea.

According to the document, while preparing for the Korean campaign, ‘…the U.S. Air Force secured additional funds to purchase large quantities of chemical and biological munitions, obtained a testing range for them in Canada and carried out an extensive conceptual work on their use…’

At that time, the Americans considered brucellosis pathogens and economically important infections, including wheat stem rust, as priority biological agents. 2,500 munitions of this type the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command planned to use, including ‘…to attack Soviet grain crops…

Analysis of the data mentioned in the report shows that the U.S. command uses the results of the research received from the Japanese military-biological programme and a certain ‘continuity’ of the works previously carried out by the Detachment 731 led by Shiro Ishii.

This is the record of the closed session of CIA, State Department and the Pentagon representatives dated July 7, 1953. The document clearly shows that the Americans are focusing on techniques to manipulate public opinion and launch an aggressive counter-attack within their strategies aimed to defend from allegations. The report states that the officials are reluctant to actual investigations of chemical and biological incidents due to fears of revealing the activities carried out by the U.S. Eighth Army.

Thus, the comparative analysis of U.S. activities during the Korean War and currently in Ukraine demonstrates the persistence of the U.S. policy of building up its own military and biological capabilities in circumvention of international agreements.

In conclusion, I would like to present real data on the health condition of the voluntarily surrendered Ukrainian servicemen. This diapositive presents the data on presence of antibodies to contagious disease agents without mentioning personal data of these servicemen.

The results are as follows: 33% of the examined servicemen had had hepatitis A, over 4% had renal syndrome fever and 20% had West Nile fever. The figures are significantly higher than the statistical average. In view of active research of these diseases held by the Pentagon within the Ukrainian projects, there is reason to believe that servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were involved as volunteers in experiments to assess the tolerance of dangerous infectious diseases.

The lack of therapeutic effect of antibacterial medication has been reported during in-patient treatment of AFU servicemen in medical facilities. High concentrations of antibiotics, including sulphonyl amides and fluoroquinolones, have been detected in their blood. This fact may indicate preventive use of antibiotics and preparation of personnel for operating in conditions of biological contamination, such as cholera agent, that indirectly proves the information of the Russian Defence Ministry that Ukrainian special units were planning to use biological agents.

Annex: Six PPT slides to this Report in English are attached separately.

Webinar, Korea’s Struggle for Independence, Peace and Reunification — 21 November, 2021

From International Manifesto Group

Sun, November 21, 2021

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST

Register here

Our webinar takes a timely look beneath and behind western stereotypes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

About this event

North Korea seems only to hit Western headlines when it conducts weapons tests and that was so again this fall. As usual, media reports were stripped of context and North Korea presented as a threat to peace.

Our webinar takes a timely look beneath and behind western stereotypes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – as totalitarian, autarkic, economically bankrupt, led by a dynasty and a cult, and a nuclear bad-boy – to probe the realities, old and new, by addressing key questions including the ongoing Korean War; the nature and motivations of the Workers’ Party of Korea governments; the reasons for its nuclear arsenal; the need to end sanctions; the history and present of the US nuclear threat in East Asia; and the path to national reunification, to which the Korean people, whether in the north, south or diaspora, remain committed.

Speakers

Dr. Kiyul Chung is a lifelong fighter for Korean reunification and anti-imperialist causes generally. He is the Editor-in-Chief at The 21st Century and a Visiting Professor at a number of universities, including Beijing’s Tsinghua University, Tokyo’s Korea University and Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung University. Earlier, he was also Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Dr. Chung was born in Korea and left to pursue his graduate studies in the United States in 1980. He was based in the USA for the next quarter century, where he earned his MA and PhD degrees, and played a leading role in the progressive Korean communty. He returned to Korea in 2005 as Adjunct Professor at the Methodist University and Senior Lecturer at Hanshin University, both in Seoul, but moved shortly to Beijing, to take up academic posts there. Dr. Chung was a key organiser of a 1989 international peace march for Korean reunification that aimed to march from the northernmost to the southernmost points of the Korean peninsula, but was prevented from crossing the DMZ by the US occupation forces and the south Korean authorities, as well as the Korea Truth Commission’s International War Crimes Tribunal, held in New York in 2001. With a background in religious philosophy, Dr. Chung’s books include ‘The Donghak Concept of God/Heaven: Religion and Social Transformation’, which, by presenting Donghak (the origin of the indigenous Korean Chondoist religion) as a case study of religion for social transformation, examines why Korean religious and intellectual traditions have been almost nonexistent and, if existent, distorted, misrepresented, or misunderstood in Western religious and philosophical studies.

Xiangyu Zhong Xiangyu is a Marxist-Leninist political commentator and a Chinese hip hop artist based in Taiwan Province. Anti-imperialism and class struggle are common themes in his music.

K.J. Noh is a peace activist, independent scholar, teacher and expert in the geopolitics of Asia. He is a frequent contributor to CounterPunch and Dissident Voice and a member of Veterans For Peace.

Dr. Hugh Goodacre is a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University College London and Director of the Institute for Independence Studies (IIS). The IIS promotes the study and application of ideologies of national and social emancipation, particularly those created by oppressed peoples through their own struggles, locating them in a non-Eurocentric conception of scientific socialism. He founded the Korea Friendship Committee (KFC) in the UK in 1982 and served as its Joint Secretary for many years. He first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1983 and is one of a handful of UK citizens to have engaged in extensive discussions with President Kim Il Sung. His decades of work on Korean affairs have embraced people-to-people exchanges, anti-sanctions campaigning and research on and study of the Juche idea. His most recent publication is, ‘The Economic Thought of William Petty – Exploring the Colonialist Roots of Economics’, published by Routledge.

Sara Flounders is a longstanding political activist and author based in New York City. She is a leader of the United National Antiwar Coalition and the International Action Center, and is the author of numerous books, including Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China and the US (co-authored with Lee SiuHin) and NATO in the Balkans: Voices of Opposition (co-authored with Ramsey Clark). She writes regularly for Workers World.

Keith Bennett is an active member of the International Manifesto Group and a consultant specialising in Chinese and Korean affairs. He is the Deputy Chair of the Kim Il Sung Kim Jong Il Foundation (KKF) and the Deputy Secretary General of the European Regional Society for the Study of the Juche Idea. He has closely followed events in Korea and the Korean road to socialism for nearly half a century and first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1983 as a delegate to the World Conference of Journalists Against Imperialism. He has subsequently visited the country on some 50 occasions and was twice awarded the DPRK Order of Friendship by President Kim Il Sung. He has delivered papers on the Juche idea and on Korean reunification at conferences in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Derek R. Ford is assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University, Indiana, USA. Ford has written six books, the latest of which is Marxism, Pedagogy, and the General Intellect: Beyond the Knowledge Economy (Palgrave, 2021), and is currently the editor of LiberationSchool.org. He led the last US delegation to the DPRK before the travel ban in 2017, organized the only US university exchange program with Korea University in Japan, and served on the program committee of the Global Peace Forum on Korea.

Moderator – Radhika Desai is a Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire (2013), Slouching Towards Ayodhya: From Congress to Hindutva in Indian Politics (2nd rev ed, 2004) and Intellectuals and Socialism: ‘Social Democrats’ and the Labour Party (1994), a New Statesman and Society Book of the Month, and editor or co-editor of Russia, Ukraine and Contemporary Imperialism, a special issue of International Critical Thought (2016), Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (2015), Analytical Gains from Geopolitical Economy (2015), Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today’s Capitalism (2010) and Developmental and Cultural Nationalisms (2009).

This panel discussion is organized by the International Manifesto Group. The IMG began discussing the fast-changing political and geopolitical economy of the world order and its national and regional components at the beginning of the pandemic. We are from around the world – North and South America, Europe and Africa, West Asia, Russia, China, East, South East and South Asia – and aim to be even more inclusive. We represent a diversity of currents of socialist thought. We meet fortnightly and hold zoom events on major issues. These are published on this website. The core of our analysis is our Manifesto, ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, and we believe engagement with its themes to develop them further is important for further left advance.

Co-sponsors include:

Nodutdol is a New York-based community of first through fourth generation Koreans living in the U.S. We are a community that has families in both, the south and north of Korea. They are diverse in our backgrounds and perspectives, but bound together by our shared sense of the Korean homeland that continues to suffer under division [with the understanding that the concept of ‘home’ may vary]. They are part of the Korean diaspora spread throughout the globe made up of artists, filmmakers, teachers, students, workers, professionals, young families, etc. who believe in social justice.

Qiao Collective is a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging U.S. aggression on China. Qiao aims to challenge rising U.S. aggression towards the People’s Republic of China and to equip the U.S. anti-war movement with the tools and analysis to better combat the stoking of a New Cold War conflict with China. They seek to be a bridge between the U.S. left and China’s rich Marxist, anti-imperialist political work and thought in order to foster critical consideration of the role of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics in contemporary geopolitics. Qiao aims to disrupt Western misinformation and propaganda and to affirm the basic humanity, subjectivity, and political agency of Chinese people.

Friends of Socialist China is a platform based on supporting the People’s Republic of China and promoting understanding of Chinese socialism.

America’s war against the people of Korea: The historical record of U.S. war crimes

…we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. …Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…

We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

George F. Kennan, State Department Brief, Washington DC, 1948


Global Research, April 30, 2017
Global Research 13 September 2013

The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013

A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea.

Introduction

Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.

It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.

I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.

I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on peace and reunification.

An armistice is an agreement by the warring parties to stop fighting. It does signify the end of war.

What underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 60 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. 

The armistice remains in force. The US is still at war with Korea. It is not a peace treaty, a peace agreement was never signed.

The US has used the Armistice agreement to justify the presence of 37,000 American troops on Korean soil under a bogus United Nations mandate, as well as establish an environment of continuous and ongoing military threats. This situation of “latent warfare” has lasted for the last 60 years. It is important to emphasize that this US garrison in South Korea is the only U.S. military presence based permanently on the Asian continent.

Our objective in this venue is to call for a far-reaching peace treaty, which will not only render the armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953 null and void, but will also lay the foundations for the speedy withdrawal of US troops from Korea as well as lay the foundations for the reunification of the Korean nation.

Michel Chossudovsky Presentation: 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013, Seoul, ROK. 

<iframe width=”690″ height=”400″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/U2xO7Cn_xDU&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

Armistice Day in a Broader Historical Perspective.

This commemoration is particularly significant in view of mounting US threats directed not only against Korea, but also against China and Russia as part of Washington’s “Asia Pivot”, not to mention the illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-NATO wars against Libya and Syria, the military threats directed against Iran, the longstanding struggle of the Palestinian people against Israel, the US sponsored wars and insurrections in sub-Saharan Africa.

Armistice Day July 27, 1953, is a significant landmark in the history of US led wars.  Under the Truman Doctrine formulated in the late 1940s, the Korean War (1950-1953) had set the stage for a global process of militarization and US led wars. “Peace-making” in terms of a peace agreement is in direct contradiction with Washington “war-making” agenda.

Washington has formulated a global military agenda. In the words of four star General Wesley Clark (Ret) [image right], quoting a senior Pentagon official:

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” (Democracy Now March 2, 2007)

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first major military operation  undertaken by the US in the wake of  World War II,  launched at the very outset of  what was euphemistically called “The Cold War”. In many respects it was a continuation of World War II, whereby Korean lands under Japanese colonial occupation were, from one day to the next, handed over to a new colonial power, the United States of America.

At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the US and the Soviet Union agreed to dividing Korea, along the 38th parallel.

There was no “Liberation” of Korea following the entry of US forces. Quite the opposite.

As we recall, a US military government was established in South Korea on September 8, 1945, three weeks after the surrender of Japan on August 15th 1945. Moreover,  Japanese officials in South Korea assisted the US Army Military Government (USAMG) (1945-48) led by General Hodge in ensuring this transition. Japanese colonial administrators in Seoul as well as their Korean police officials worked hand in glove with the new colonial masters.

From the outset, the US military government refused to recognize the provisional government of the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK), which was committed to major social reforms including land distribution, laws protecting the rights of workers, minimum wage legislation and  the reunification of North and South Korea.

The PRK was non-aligned with an anti-colonial mandate, calling for the “establishment of close relations with the United States, USSR, England, and China, and positive opposition to any foreign influences interfering with the domestic affairs of the state.”2

The PRK was abolished by military decree in September 1945 by the USAMG. There was no democracy, no liberation no independence.

While Japan was treated as a defeated Empire, South Korea was identified as a colonial territory to be administered under US military rule and US occupation forces.

America’s handpicked appointee Sygman Rhee [left] was flown into Seoul in October 1945, in General Douglas MacArthur’s personal airplane.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history.

Continue reading

Russian Foreign Minister comments on Pence, McMasters statements, and chemical weapon investigation problems

From Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation
April 17, 2017

Excerpts:

Question: Can you comment on rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, taking into account US Vice President Mike Pence’s comment that the era of strategic patience is over in relations with North Korea and that all options are on the table to achieve security in the region?

Sergey Lavrov: I wouldn’t describe relations between North Korea and the Obama administration as an era of strategic patience, because the United States greatly restricted North Korea’s ability to develop the industries that could promote the nuclear or energy sectors. The UN Security Council adopted harsh sanctions against North Korea and condemned its policy.

If the figure of speech used by the US Vice President can be understood as a threat of a unilateral military solution, it is a highly risky path. We condemn Pyongyang’s opportunistic nuclear missile plans, which violate the numerous UN Security Council resolutions. But this does not mean that other countries can violate international law and use military force contrary to the UN Charter. I strongly hope that no unilateral actions will be taken similar to those we have recently seen in Syria, and that the United States will pursue the line President Donald Trump put forth during his election campaign.

Question: Can you comment on the statement by the US National Security Adviser Army Lieutenant General McMaster that “it’s time though, now, to have those tough discussions” with Russia over its support for Syria’s government and its “subversive actions” in Europe?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a complex question. I have no desire to comment on the unsubstantiated accusations made against Russia. First they concerned Ukraine, and now the focus has shifted to Syria. I have seen media reports that US or British officials are saying that they could cooperate with Russia if it [behaved] in Ukraine and, Syria, and now the Korean Peninsula has been added to the list. It appears that we must do something for somebody on the Korean Peninsula too, although we did not create the chaos that is reigning there. ISIS, and before it, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra, are the offspring of opportunistic projects that involved our Western partners, primarily many US administrations, which began by supporting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and praising them as freedom fighters, and continued this policy in Iraq and Libya. And now that these countries have been ruined, it appears that we must pay for the consequences. This is not how partners act. This approach is not acceptable to us. We will not listen to what President Trump’s adviser has said, but what President Trump himself has said, that he is optimistic when it comes to improving relations with Russia. We are ready for this.

Question: What issues are on the agenda of the upcoming Geneva meeting on the intra-Syrian settlement? Will it be political issues only, or will military issues also be discussed, in light of the recent air strike on the Syrian airfield and the coalition landing operation near Deir Ez-Zor?

Sergey Lavrov: The talks in Geneva will be held after May 3–4, that is, following a regular meeting in Astana. We hope that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Mr Staffan de Mistura, will find a suitable date. It has been suggested that since the holy month of Ramadan begins in late May, it would be expedient to postpone the talks until after it ends. We are convinced that we must not lose momentum, especially in a situation when the political process has been brought into question. I am referring to the strike on the Shayrat airfield and the intention of many players in Syria, among the external opposition and in many countries in and outside the region, to use this situation to place the blame squarely on Bashar al-Assad. They seek to deviate from a political settlement through the expression of the will of the Syrian people themselves to conduct unilateral actions to overthrow the Syrian government. It is an alarming trend. As I have said, in pursuit of this goal, they are using the April 4 chemical weapons incident in Idlib, which was followed by the illegal US air strike on the airfield from which planes allegedly carrying chemical weapons took off. I have said repeatedly that we demand that an objective and unbiased investigation be carried out under the auspices of the OPCW with assistance from independent experts, and that this investigation be fully transparent.

I would like to remind you that we have pointed out a very strange coincidence: that the two groups of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria are chaired by UK citizens. We have said that this runs contrary to the principles of an international organisation, the structures of which must be maximally balanced. We have not received any response as yet, but we can regard a recent statement by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as an indirect response. He said in an interview that Damascus and Russia and Iran, which support it, are to blame for the chemical attack.  By way of evidence, he said that British scientists have analysed samples from the site of the attack, and that these have tested positive for sarin or a sarin-like substance. That’s an interesting coincidence: British citizens chairing the OPCW FFM don’t tell anyone anything, while British scientists have already analysed samples taken at the site of the incident. I believe we will be sending a request to the OPCW today demanding an explanation. I expect they will have to answer this time.

The situation is not simple at all. We hope that the majority of countries see what is going on. We will not permit anyone to derail the efforts to attain a political settlement in Syria under the UN Security Council resolution.

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2729221