Russian officials have recently claimed that the United States is assisting Ukraine in developing a biological and chemical weapons program.

In this regard, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during an annual hearing on global threats on Thursday March 10, “We do not assess that Ukraine is pursuing either biological weapons or nuclear weapons.”

Haines added, “This influence campaign is consistent with long-standing Russian efforts to accuse the United States of sponsoring bioweapons… This is a classic move by the Russians.”

According to Haines and other officials, Ukraine does have bioresearch labs for defense and public health response. However, they are different from bioweapon labs in that they are designed to protect against pandemics or attacks and are not conducting weapon development.

On March 10, CIA Director William Burns said that Russia’s accusations of chemical weapons “is very much a part of Russia’s playbook. They’ve used those weapons against their own citizens, they’ve at least encouraged the use in Syria and elsewhere; so it’s something we take very seriously.”

In a tweet on March 7, the Russian foreign ministry accused the U.S. and Ukrainian governments of launching a secret “military-biological program” in Ukraine with the full support of the Ukrainian government. Moscow went on to say that its troops had discovered “evidence” of an “emergency clean-up” aimed at removing the military-biological program’s traces. The ministry also stated that it had received documents from Ukrainian Biolabs staff confirming the need to destroy dangerous pathogens immediately.

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