The US is becoming a major exporter of deadly biological weapons to nations across the globe, a member of Russia’s Security Council has argued, warning of the potential for a colossal body count if they are ever actually used.
Yuri Averyanov, the first deputy secretary of the country’s top national defense body, used an interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday to warn that “lethal and dangerous microorganisms… could potentially be released into the environment, allegedly by mistake.” He added that such an attack, if used against Russia, “would lead to a massive destruction of the civilian population” both within the country and in neighboring states.
He added that Washington is currently working to increase biological weapons capabilities in a number of states around the world, including some close to Russia. These programs, he says, weaponize viruses and other pathogens “primarily for military purposes.”
Last month, the secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, also warned about research facilities near the borders of Russia and China, suggesting that they could be used as part of a concerted biological warfare effort against the two nations. “There are research centers where Americans help local scientists develop new ways to combat dangerous diseases,” he said, but claimed that “the authorities in the countries where these centers are located have no real idea what is happening within their walls.”
Germ warfare is formally banned by the Biological Weapons Convention, signed in 1972 and ratified by 183 states. Russia, along with the US and Britain, underwrites the agreement as one of the three depository members responsible for administering membership of the treaty. The convention describes the potential use of biological and toxin-based weapons as “repugnant to the conscience of mankind.”
Despite this, the Federation of American Scientists has previously cautioned that US research on non-lethal bio-agents “exceeds the limits” imposed by the Cold War-era deal. However, the Atlantic Council, a lobby group for the US-led NATO military bloc has implied that Moscow could be breaching the convention, and argued that the pact should be “given some teeth – to keep countries like Russia in line.”