Russia’s sanitary service has accused the Pentagon of running a military laboratory on the Georgian soil that conducted experiments on dangerous pathogens.
“The existence of a US-run military lab that studied hazardous germs in a country adjacent to Russia raised concerns and was a stumbling stone in the Russian-Georgian cooperation to stave off any sanitary or epidemic threats,” the sanitary service, also known as Rospotrebnadzor, said in a statement on Monday.
According to the sanitary watchdog, the alleged experiments were conducted at the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. It said the Georgian government had finally decided to shut down the bio facility, which was funded and staffed by the US Department of Defense.
Russian Rospotrebnadzor director and chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko claimed that the recent epidemic of African swine fever was a planned act of economic sabotage. The virus, he said, jumped over from neigbouring Georgia, causing a severe outbreak in Russia’s south.
Mr. Onishchenko also said the decommissioned US lab was to be run by Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Rospotrebnadzor expects that, as soon as the Georgian government fulfills its plan, our [Georgian and Russian] sanitary services will be able to join their forces to curb epidemic threats,” the Rospotrebnadzor’s message read.
The epidemic watchdog said it hoped Georgia was to take over the second US military lab to use it for public health’s sake and not in the interests of the third country’s military department.
Voice of Russia, Interfax