Ukraine Biological Labs - Weapons?

Mendel

Senior Member.
This is a surprise. From the US Senate:
Article:
Rubio: I only have a minute left. Let me ask you, does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?

Nuland: Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of. So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces, should they approach.

Victoria Nuland is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
that is. why would ukraine be researching biological weapons?

What makes you think they are? The response given does not confirm the proposition in the question, it subsitutes its own.

I see very little surprising in the narrative @Mendel quoted. Any opportunity to say that an enemy might be able to get their hands on scary stuff is jumped at, no matter how fabricated the claim has to be.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
because the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs said:

why would you be "quite concerned" about "falling into the hands of" Russia regarding a new vaccine formula or some other innocent health research?

Why did you selectively quote such as to avoid the nouns - literally the bit of the sentence that's most relevant? Are you deliberately attempting to avoid the point that I raised in my previous post, namely that she not-so-subtly changed the thing under discussion. Apparently it was subtle to some eyes, but it jumped out a mile to mine.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned

Russia says U.S. has biolabs with plague and anthrax in Ukraine, U.S. calls claim absurd​


Article:
..,Russia has made allegations about the United States working with Ukrainian laboratories to develop biological weapons for several years, accusations that increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Both countries have consistently denied the reports.

Since the 1990s, the two countries have worked together as part of an international agreement aiming to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Since 2005, they have also collaborated on preventing outbreaks of infectious diseases, including on vaccine research.

In addition, there are public health labs in Ukraine, as in most countries of the world, that research other dangerous diseases affecting both animals and humans to better understand how to mitigate those threats.
Source: Reuters

The White House’s official line on bio weapons in Ukraine is to say “that’s absurd” (see above article). I think Nuland just slipped up and didn’t really grasp that Rubio was asking her about the bio weapons in respect to Russia’s accusations—the bio weapons that the US officially and adamantly says don’t exist (see above).

I think she might’ve just meant there are bio research facilities in Ukraine that would be problematic if left to the Russian military. I don’t think she was trying to fool us into thinking there are bio weapons in Ukraine, because that’s exactly the opposite of what the White House wants us to think (see above). It sounded to me like a poor answer to a misunderstood question. But I have no idea.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Are you deliberately attempting to avoid the point that I raised
no. you asked me a question and i answered it.

Apparently it was subtle to some eyes, but it jumped out a mile to mine.
that's fine. but what jumped out at me is she didn't say "no". or "not that i know of".

if Congress asked me if i my friend had biological or chemical weapons, i would say "no. not that i know of". When the state Trooper asked me if i had "knives, guns, a rocket launcher" (no lie, he did) in my car...yes, i did give him a look but i said "no".

Are you deliberately trying to avoid the point I raised?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I don’t think she was trying to fool us into thinking there are bio weapons in Ukraine, because that’s exactly the opposite of what the White House wants us to think (see above).
i don't think she was trying to fool us either. I think she didn't want to answer the question and also did not want to perjure herself.

i assume she will make some attempt to "clarify her statement" if my take is untrue, as i saw media in multiple countries taking her word the same way i did. and many people are already scared of scientists playing with viruses, after all the "gain of function" stuff we've been reading in the press over the pandemic.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
i don't think she was trying to fool us either. I think she didn't want to answer the question and also did not want to perjure herself.

i assume she will make some attempt to "clarify her statement" if my take is untrue, as i saw media in multiple countries taking her word the same way i did.
My first thought was the same as yours. It was a bonkers answer.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Article:

A debunked conspiracy theory about US bio-weapons laboratories in Ukraine was seized on by Russian and Chinese media outlets​

Business Insider

On March 2, Foreign Policy reported on Twitter user WarClandestine's post in February that said: "It certainly appears Putin is targeting the cities and locations with #USBiolabs present. He is 100% going after the alleged bioweapons."
In the same thread, WarClandestine outlined what they said was credible evidence that the US had bioweapons in Ukraine. The account — which has since been suspended — was run by an individual named Jacob, who appeared to be American and claimed to have served in the US military, per Foreign Policy.

Two fact-checking websites — Politifact and FactCheck.org — countered these claims, asserting that the US does not operate any biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Article:

White House: Russia could use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine​

Axios

White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned in a series of tweets Wednesday that Russia may be preparing to "use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine," after Moscow claimed the U.S. was housing biological weapons in the country.

"Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern."
Source: https://twitter.com/presssec/status/1501676240180322311

Russia has a long history of using chemical weapons, most notably in Syria by the Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad and in the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
but what jumped out at me is she didn't say "no". or "not that i know of".

Congratulations, you fell for the very rhetoric she was hoping you would. The message she wanted to implant in your brain was "yes", but she wanted to avoid saying the word. Hook, line, and sinker - she wins. For the reason I stated above, which apparently didn't sink in at all.

Are you deliberately trying to avoid the point I raised?

No, I'm trying to raise your comprehension skills and give you some insights into rhetoric.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Congratulations, you fell for the very rhetoric she was hoping you would. The message she wanted to implant in your brain was "yes", but she wanted to avoid saying the word.
I'm not following; historically, the State department wants people to think "no" here, whereas Russia and China are trying for "yes".

Nuland's answer is an implied "no" and then a comment on how close they are to "yes".

It's the same with nuclear weapons: you're looking for whether a country has enough fissible material, the technology to enrich it, test a bomb, and deliver it, and nonproliferation starts a lot earlier than the last steps.
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
I'm not following; historically, the State department wants people to think "no" here

We must have lived through different histories. A "yes" there is a classic move for manufacturing consent, which is the state department's bread and butter.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
We must have lived through different histories. A "yes" there is a classic move for manufacturing consent, which is the state department's bread and butter.
What would a "yes" achieve?

Denying that Ukraine has WMD allows them to portray Ukraine as the underdog against Russia, who has committed via treaty to not have any either, but these Russians can't be trusted, right?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
From a Chinese news site:
Article:
The Russian Defence Ministry on Thursday announced that the US-funded biological labs located in Ukraine were conducting experiments with bat coronavirus samples.

"According to the documents, the American side planned to conduct work on pathogens of birds, bats, and reptiles in Ukraine in 2022, with a further transition to studying the possibility of carrying African swine fever and anthrax", chief spokesman for the Ministry of Defence Major General Igor Konashenkov said.

In addition, the facilities were studying the possible spread of pathogens via wild birds, migrating between Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in the region.

"The purpose of this - and other Pentagon-funded biological research in Ukraine, was to create a mechanism for the covert spread of deadly pathogens", he added.

On 7 March, the Russian armed forces discovered 30 biological compounds in Ukraine, which were possibly involved in the production of bio weapons, according to the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defence of the Russian armed forces Igor Kirillov.

The Russian MoD noted the United States spent more than $200 million on the work of biological laboratories in Ukraine - the laboratories of the central sanitary and epidemiological directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry participated in the US military biological programme.

The first part is them using the kind of conspiracy against the US/Ukraine that western conspiracy theorists have used against Wuhan, with Corona=bioweapon (debunked in our Covid subforum).

The second part is fluff (30 "possibly involved" proves nothing, 1 "definitely involved" would— I imagine e.g. H2O and ethanol would be involved) and a claim about DoD funds going to Ukraine that should be verifiable (but will probably be nothing more than some joint research project with US partners).

As any good CT, this item has just enough detail to be believable, and lacks just enough further detail to spark the imagination.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Axios

White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned in a series of tweets Wednesday that Russia may be preparing to "use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine," after Moscow claimed the U.S. was housing biological weapons in the country.
is this claim true?

all the other articles i've read said Ukraine labs have received funding from DOD.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
What would a "yes" achieve?

Denying that Ukraine has WMD allows them to portray Ukraine as the underdog against Russia, who has committed via treaty to not have any either, but these Russians can't be trusted, right?

You still don't get the subtlety of the rhetoric. The "yes" payload was wrapped in forward-looking language. A future threat was created.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
You still don't get the subtlety of the rhetoric. The "yes" payload was wrapped in forward-looking language. A future threat was created.
Not really. The future threat hinges on Russia accusing Ukraine of having WMDs, and with regard to chemical that threat goes back to last year.
Article:
Kremlin-sponsored media quoted a former Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officer on December 24 stating that Ukrainian Armed Forces will use chemical weapons to attack schools, hospitals, and mass gatherings in then-Ukrainian-controlled eastern Ukraine.[5]

Russian-backed DNR leader Denis Pushilin said on January 18 that the DNR is ready to respond to an expected Ukrainian chemical weapons provocation. Pushilin falsely alleged that Ukraine may accuse Russia or the DNR of a chemical attack in Donbas or on other Ukrainian territory to justify Ukrainian aggression.[6]

The US position would stronger if they could claim Ukraine doesn't have anything, so whatever happens must be a false flag. The "yes" weakens that position.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
The US position would stronger if they could claim Ukraine doesn't have anything, so whatever happens must be a false flag. The "yes" weakens that position.
I think so. And the “yes” goes against a position they’ve consistently offered for over a year on this very issue. That’s why I think Nuland just gave a terrible, on the spot, off the cuff answer. People make blunders.

I think Rubio was attempting to pitch Nuland a softball. Rubio had, a day or two before, tweeted about the possibility of this Russian operation to use bio weapons then blame it on Ukraine as a false flag to justify Russian aggression. Given that the US had been saying “absolute not” so consistently for so long in regards to questions about a Ukraine/US bio weapons venture, he figured she’d immediately say “absolutely not” so he could follow up the way he did anyway with a question he already had in his back pocket by suggesting if bio weapons were used in Ukraine it would be Russia who who would use them in a false flag and blame Ukraine:

Rubio: I'm sure you're aware that the Russian propaganda groups are already putting out there all kinds of information about how they've uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to release biological weapons in the country with NATO's coordination.

If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside of Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100 percent, it would be the Russians that would be behind it?

Nuland: There is no doubt in my mind, Senator. And it is classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they're planning to do themselves.
Source: https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=E579E02B-3BA3-4FED-A515-A175384AD9D0

To me it sounds like Nuland just missed Rubio’s easy prompt with his first question. Rubio had been talking exclusively and at length about Maduro and Venezuela until he abruptly asked about Ukrainian bio weapons. I think it threw her and she flubbed her response. But obviously I don’t really know.
 
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BombDr

Senior Member.
Im really not seeing a nefarious US/Ukraine biological weapons capability. It doesn't appear to have been secret, and being a country boy I can think of multiple farm and agricultural pathogens that would be of research value in Ukraine, before we even delve into more sinister things such as Anthrax, Botulism, Pox, Ricin etc. The Kremlin thus far has just done the huge innuendo thing without presenting any evidence, as they did with the supposed Polish saboteurs, Ukrainian nuclear programme and Nazis under beds.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
The State Department’s comment on Nuland’s weird answer to Rubio’s question:

Article:
At a Senate Foreign Relations Commission on Tuesday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida asked Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland if Ukraine has chemical or biological weapons.

“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian troops and Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of,” Nuland replied. “So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.”

A spokesperson for the State Department told the Washington Examiner that the Pentagon does not own or operate any biolabs in Ukraine. Nuland, the spokesperson said, “was referring to Ukrainian diagnostic and biodefense laboratories.” Those “are not biological weapons facilities.” And, in fact, they “counter biological threats throughout the country.”

“Throughout this crisis, Russia has baselessly alleged it is under threat, including from Ukraine and from NATO, and has alleged Ukraine plans to use chemical and biological weapons,” the spokesperson said. “As we’ve said all along, Russia is continuing to invent false pretexts to justify their horrific actions in Ukraine.”
Source: Washington Examiner

Rubio, just this morning apparently asked the same question again, this time to the US director of national intelligence and she also said unequivocally that there are no biological weapon facilities in Ukraine.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
[Axios:] Russia has a long history of using chemical weapons, most notably in Syria by the Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad
"The US has a long history of using chemical weapons, most notably in the Iran-Iraq war by the US-backed regime of Saddam Hussein." I'm not really ok with that kind of logic.
[Jan Psaki:] we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine
I don't think the US is claiming evidence that Russia even has biological or chemical munitions right now?
 

lougiants

New Member
My understanding is that this has been a long standing program with these biolabs and there has been a partnership between Ukraine and the Pentagon. These were all old Soviet era labs and when the curtain fell there was a program to try and deal with the proliferation of those "nasties". They don't want anything to escape those labs. It has not been a secret throughout the Pentagon and Intelligence Agencies

But what Russia does is they take that information, distort it, and turn it into disinformation.

And unfortunately the talking heads on Fox are making this seem more than it is.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
My understanding is that this has been a long standing program with these biolabs and there has been a partnership between Ukraine and the Pentagon. These were all old Soviet era labs and when the curtain fell there was a program to try and deal with the proliferation of those "nasties". They don't want anything to escape those labs. It has not been a secret throughout the Pentagon and Intelligence Agencies

But what Russia does is they take that information, distort it, and turn it into disinformation.
you could just link to the daily beast article that says all that

Article:
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin yet again found herself clarifying misleading comments made by one of her colleagues.
.......

“Jennifer,” Hannity said, “but we do know that Victoria Nuland admitted that labs existed. What exactly they’re for, we never got clarity on, correct?”

“Well, we do have clarity,” Griffin responded. “I have a fact sheet—that’s what I was just reading—from the Pentagon.”

Griffin, who has been correcting Ukraine-related comments from Fox News hosts and guests over the past month, explained:

“It is a long program that has existed where the Pentagon has partnered with these biolabs. These were Soviet-era labs that—remember the Nunn-Lugar Bill and trying to deal with proliferation when the Soviet Union ended—that is part of this effort to try to clean up those Soviet-era labs and make sure that nothing escapes from those labs. And so the U.S. has been very open about its involvement there with that. But what Russia does is they take that information, distort it, turn it around, and turn it into disinformation.”
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
These were all old Soviet era labs and when the curtain fell there was a program to try and deal with the proliferation of those "nasties". They don't want anything to escape those labs.
So in the USSR, these were bioweapon labs, and now that the Department of Defense is partnered with them, they're biodefense labs.
Article:
While natural evolution of infectious agents and the emergence of new infectious diseases remain the major threat to health security, molecular engineering makes it possible to modify microorganisms with relatively few resources, and that raises the concern that terrorist groups will apply these technologies to achieve nefarious goals. Bioterrorism poses a genuine threat, especially in an unstable world. As terrorist activities increase, application of bioterrorism becomes more likely. This is a particular concern in the less developed world where the threat may be most serious. Just as it is difficult to predict exactly when the next natural infectious disease outbreak will occur, it is also difficult to predict how a bioterrorist will construct a biological weapon and where it will be used. An effective research program to address all these issues for a particular region must remain current with developments in the science of infectious diseases as well as knowledgeable about ecological pressures on the local microbial community. The common link in a program to deal with any kind of outbreak is to assemble the tools and the skills to rapidly understand the nature of the outbreak, the factors playing a role in its occurrence and spread, and therapies to counter the threat. To recognize a new outbreak, it is important to have a full understanding of the spectrum of infectious agents endemic in a region over time to provide a baseline to recognize any anomalies and for predicting future events. Such understanding requires effective biosurveillance coupled with research on those agents important for health security, both regionally and global.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
At the end of the Cold War, remnants of the Soviet Union’s biological weapon complex presented a significant threat to U.S. and international security. As part of the U.S. government’s broader Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, the Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) addressed proliferation risks associated with biological agents, related materials, and technical expertise associated with the defunct biological weapon program. Under its authorities to operate in the former Soviet Union, BTRP worked to destroy bioweapon production facilities, consolidate collections of dangerous pathogens, and support peaceful research activities to employ personnel with knowledge. By 2002, the program had also began to work to improve partner biosurveillance capabilities where needed. Today, global health security challenges arise from developments far broader than state-sponsored biological weapon programs, such as that of the Soviet Union, and BTRP has evolved to meet them. Now called the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), the biological threat component of CTR partners with about 20 countries in different regions around the world and works with them to address diverse threats to international security, including terrorist organizations seeking to acquire pathogens of security concern; human, animal, and agricultural facilities operating with inadequate safety and security safeguards; and the spread of diseases with potential security or economic consequences.

tl;dr we dismantled the bioweapon factories and kept the research
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
tl;dr we dismantled the bioweapon factories and kept the research
so do you think the premise of the OP quote regarding being "quite concerned" and "falling into the hands of Russian forces", is that research conducted in the Ukraine was not shared with Moscow or other Russian labs, even though Ukraine was Russia at the time the research was conducted?

I'm not real familiar with the dismantling of USSR, I assumed Russia would want to keep it's intellectual property. but i guess maybe that sort of thing wasn't done under the split circumstances?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
so do you think the premise of the OP quote regarding being "quite concerned" and "falling into the hands of Russian forces", is that research conducted in the Ukraine was not shared with Moscow or other Russian labs, even though Ukraine was Russia at the time the research was conducted?
I don't think that.

But I do wonder, if these labs have conducted peaceful research in the past 30 years, why Nuland is concerned that it may be falling into Russian hands. I'd be more concerned to prevent an artillery or missile strike on these facilities.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
So in the USSR, these were bioweapon labs, and now that the Department of Defense is partnered with them, they're biodefense labs.

That could certainly be true—that the lab performs the same purpose under new ownership (edit: I might be misunderstanding you here). Or maybe there are key components to a bioweapons lab, that when absent, make it much more like a typical bioresearch lab and the US/Ukraine removed those components, making the distinction meaningful. I have no clue.

What’d be helpful to me is an expert’s opinion on the key differences (if any really exist other than a change in focus) between bioweapons labs and bioresearch labs. Rubio, who’s apparently crazy interested in this stuff at the moment, tried to ask the national intelligence chief Avril Haines about this distinction today and got exactly crap for an answer from a self-admitted non-expert: (apologies to those of you who’ve already read/heard this.)

Rubio: I guess that's the important component. How do we define biosafety or biodefense? Is it the ability to have antidotes or responses if someone were to use an agent against you, if you were having an outbreak? What exactly is that?

Haines: I will quickly get out of my area of expertise, but I'll give you a generic answer that I understand. For biodefense, you can think about things like medical [assets:] for example, things that will help you to address a pandemic that is an outbreak in your country, things along those lines. Things that prevent spreading of pandemics and other health issues. Things along those lines. The kinds of biosafety pieces that [the U.S.] would be providing assistance for are things like making sure that as you're producing medical countermeasures, you're taking appropriate precautions. That you're letting the medical community internationally know, notifying [it] when appropriate. So that's the kind of assistance [the U.S. has provided].
Source: https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=019CC78F-6A8F-4B2F-9DAB-1B2F00C3B96B

Edit: The other issue for me is, while I can see the US being eager to team up with Ukraine to gather up intelligence on Russian bioresearch of any kind, I can’t see the US being eager to team up with a non-NATO, Eastern European country on a secret bioweapons venture.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Or maybe there are key components to a bioweapons lab, that when absent, make it much more like a typical bioresearch lab and the US/Ukraine removed those components
In the descriptions of the conversion, I've not seen that mentioned, and I couldn't imagine what that would entail.

Weapon-specific problems would be how to mass-produce, store, preserve, and deliver the diseases.

it is also difficult to predict how a bioterrorist will construct a biological weapon and where it will be used. An effective research program to address all these issues for a particular region must remain current with developments in the science of infectious diseases
To my mind, a "biodefense" lab must think about how to make bioweapons (and experimentally do it), and have some in the freezer to test countermeasures on. This implies that these labs have the knowledge and the means to produce small amounts of bioweapons.

The main difference between a bioterrorist and a biodefense researcher is who pays them, which is why it was deemed important post-cold-war to keep these people employed. Basically, every virologist is a potential bioterrorist. Get yourself a bat-cave, and you're good to go.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
But I do wonder, if these labs have conducted peaceful research in the past 30 years, why Nuland is concerned that it may be falling into Russian hands.
The US and/or Ukraine wouldn’t want Russia to know their own perceived weaknesses or planned responses to naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate biological threats.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
Today there’s a NYT Fact Check piece asserting that the

Theory About U.S.-Funded Bioweapons Labs in Ukraine Is Unfounded

The article is worth a read (if you have a subscription). Much of it centers around a February interview Robert Pope, head of the Pentagon’s CTR program, gave to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The following is an excerpt from today’s NYT Fact Check.

[Pope] had warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may damage laboratories in the country supported by the United States that conduct research and disease surveillance. He noted that some of the facilities may contain pathogens once used for Soviet-era bioweapons programs, but he emphasized that the Ukrainian labs currently did not have the ability to manufacture bioweapons.

“There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons,” Mr. Pope said. “Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program.”

In a March interview with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mr. Pope also echoed Ms. Nuland’s concerns about the laboratories falling into Russia’s hands. He spoke specifically about the Pentagon’s support of 14 veterinary laboratories that provide Ukraine with sampling and diagnostic abilities to detect infectious diseases.

“Should Russian forces occupy a city with one of these facilities, we are concerned that Russia will fabricate ‘evidence’ of nefarious activity in an attempt to lend credibility to their ongoing disinformation about these facilities,” he said.
Source: NY Times

Mr. Pope appears to be of the opinion that there are significant differences between Ukraine’s current bioresearch labs and operational bioweapons labs, and that among the current Ukraine labs “There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons.”
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
“There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons.”
yea you would likely need certain contained ventilation systems, those level 4 labs..where you go in in suits and breathe pumped in oxygen and have to go through the disinfection shower after.

i believe they think the anthrax terrorist in the USA after 9/11 just bought stuff off the internet (meaning he likely did not have many safety protocols)..but if Ukraine was willing to take that sort of non-safety risk, they wouldn't need to do it in the biolabs in the first place.

Article:
A biosafety level (BSL), or pathogen/protection level, is a set of biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have specified these levels.[2] In the European Union, the same biosafety levels are defined in a directive.[3] In Canada the four levels are known as Containment Levels.[4] Facilities with these designations are also sometimes given as P1 through P4 (for pathogen or protection level), as in the term P3 laboratory.[5]

1647033661236.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The article is worth a read (if you have a subscription).
Or you open it in a private tab.

“There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons,” Mr. Pope said. “Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program.”
Content from External Source
The admission that these bioweapon strains have not been systematically destroyed is concerning.
Article:
In response to questions from Reuters about its work with Ukraine ahead of and during Russia's invasion, the WHO said in an email on Thursday that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health labs for several years to promote security practices that help prevent "accidental or deliberate release of pathogens."

"As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills," the WHO, a United Nations agency, said.

The WHO would not say when it had made the recommendation nor did it provide specifics about the kinds of pathogens or toxins housed in Ukraine's laboratories. The agency also did not answer questions about whether its recommendations were followed.


Here's some older info about facilities in Ukraine, I think they have at least one BSL-3 lab.
Article:
From a Ukrainian presentation at a 2011 conference, organized by the U.S. State Department’s Biosecurity Engagement Program:

What high-containment biological (high BSL) laboratories exist in your country? What are the facilities’ main goals and priorities?
There are over 4,000 registered microbiological laboratories in Ukraine, but only 2 of them have a permit to work with microorganisms of the first pathogenic group, 402 laboratories have a permit to work with the microorganisms of the second pathogenic group, and all others are allowed to work only with microorganisms of the third and forth pathogenic groups. Here it is necessary to note that the classification of pathogenic organisms and therefore classification of the laboratories in Ukraine differs from the international one. It is inverted (i.e., in Ukraine “one” is the highest risk and “four” is the lowest risk) and also has some additional differences. . . .​

According to the available data, there are no laboratories in Ukraine that fulfill BSL-4 requirements. One of the laboratories that has a permit to work with the microorganisms of the first pathogenic group did, however, recently undergo an international audit as a BSL-3 laboratory and received a preliminary positive evaluation.​

Even biosafety-level-two laboratories work with some nasty stuff — e.g., hepatitis, HIV, salmonella. Biosafety-level-three laboratories work with microbes that can cause serious or deadly diseases through inhalation — e.g., Covid-19, tuberculosis, yellow fever, SARS, West Nile, some strains of influenza. Biosafety-level-four laboratories work with the most dangerous pathogens that carry the highest risk of infecting lab personnel — e.g., Ebola, Nipah, Marburg.

Ukraine does not have a level-four lab today. Just as it did a decade ago, Ukraine has thousands of labs, but only a handful work with airborne, potentially deadly pathogens, and a few hundred work with “moderate-risk agents.”
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Mr. Pope appears to be of the opinion that there are significant differences between Ukraine’s current bioresearch labs and operational bioweapons labs, and that among the current Ukraine labs “There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons.”
I think he's splitting hairs.

Yes, research labs won't be able to produce pathogens in large volumes and package them for use in munitions.

Yes, each pathogen typically needs a specific environment/cell culture to reproduce it, and labs wouldn't have that ready to go when they don't need it.

But as long as you have the pathogen and the know-how and the facilities, I think you're not that many steps away from manufacturing small quantities?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
and the facilities,
you would need the facilities. while technically any disease could be used as a "biological weapon", i think what the professionals mean by that is diseases that are modified. for example "weaponized smallpox" or "weaponized anthrax" is not just regular smallpox or anthrax that is dumped on an area.
They were "played with" to make them "finer"/smaller for easier airborne spread. i'm pretty sure (but dont quote me) you'd need a level 4 for that reagrdless of what pathogen you are modifying.
they also sometimes need to be modified for longevity as diseases will often die in a short time period due to humidity factors, temperature etc.

@Woolery
A laymen easy read for some basics is a book called "Demon in the Freezer". obviously it is just a general primer book, but it is a story format and a quick read. touches on what weaponized is, how they do it, the ussr research/usa research of old, the Agreements between countries etc.

Goes over the whole smallpox eradification story, but if you skip those parts you can finish it off in a night.
Article:
The Demon in the Freezer is a 2002 non-fiction book (ISBN 0345466632) on the biological weapon agents smallpox and anthrax and how the American government develops defensive measures against them.

https://www.pdfdrive.com/the-demon-in-the-freezer-a-true-story-e164859409.html

bit from pdf book
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