Russian Military Points to Presence of US-Funded Biolabs in Nigeria Amid Global Monkeypox Scare

Ilya Tsukanov
The Russian military has spent over two months now detailing the extent and reach of the US military-biological research effort in Ukraine, revealing that the Pentagon has used the country as a testing ground for the study of deadly bioagents, and uncovering the tangled web of military, corporate, and political interests behind these activities.

Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defence Troops chief Igor Kirillov issued a fresh briefing on Friday, providing new information on US military biological activities in Ukraine, as well as details on what his troops know about monkeypox, a smallpox cousin which has caused a global health scare in recent weeks.

The Pentagon, he said, introduced a mandatory smallpox vaccination back in 2003, with US diplomats and medical personnel also required to be jabbed against the infectious disease.

“This indicates that the United States considers the smallpox pathogen a priority pathogenic agent for combat use, and ongoing vaccination measures are aimed at protecting their own military contingents”, Kirillov said.
Excerpt from 2003 memorandum on Pentagon’s mandatory smallpox vaccination programme.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

The complete 2003 US “Army Smallpox Preparedness and Vaccination Program Implementation Plan” document can be found here.

“The Pentagon’s interest in this infection is far from accidental. The return of the causative agent of smallpox would be a global catastrophe for all of humanity”, Kirillov suggested, emphasising that smallpox is 10 times more lethal than COVID-19.

Citing seized documentation, Kirillov revealed that American instructors trained employees of biolabs in Ukraine on how to respond to an emergency smallpox outbreak. Ukrainian-language documents on this training can be found here.

Smallpox was eradicated in the late 1970s thanks to global efforts, with vaccinations against the disease subsequently halted by most countries. However, health authorities in countries around the world have recently begun expressing concerns about monkeypox, after cases began to spread earlier this month.

US Biolabs in Nigeria

Kirillov took note of the World Health Organisation’s recent determination that the causative agent of the monkeypox virus being met today originated in Nigeria, and pointed out that this is “another state upon whose territory the United States has deployed its biological infrastructure”.

“According to available information, there are at least four US-controlled biolabs” in the African nation”, Kirillov said.

Kirillov also pointed to media reports on the 2021 Munich Security Conference-Nuclear Threat Initiative simulation modelling the outbreak of a bioengineered, highly deadly strain of monkeypox by terrorists, calling the exercise “an odd coincidence which needs additional verification by specialists”.

The officer emphasised that against the backdrop of repeated US violations of biosafety requirements and evidence of the careless storage of pathogenic biomaterials, including smallpox, the WHO should investigate the activities of US-funded labs in the cities of Abuja, Zaria, and Lagos, Nigeria, and inform the international community on their findings.

The RCB Defence Troops chief also expressed concerns about the safety of smallpox virus samples inside the United States itself.
“The lack of proper control and the violation of biosecurity requirements in the United States could lead to the use of this pathogen for terrorist purposes. Between 2014 and 2021, unaccounted for vials containing the virus were repeatedly found in the laboratories of the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland, and the Centre for Vaccine Research in Pennsylvania”, Kirillov said.

Kirillov stressed that the work of these labs violated a 1996 resolution by the WHO, which prohibited smallpox’s causative agent from being stored in all but one US-based laboratory – the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

1996 resolution by the Forty-Ninth World Health Assembly requiring the United States and Russia to hold smallpox virus samples at only one facility per country.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

New Details on Pentagon-Funded Labs in Ukraine

During Friday’s presentation, Kirillov also provided new documentation on the operation of nearly a dozen military-biological projects organised by the Pentagon in Ukraine, including deadly agents and “economically significant” infections, funded to the tune of over $8.01 million between 2008 and 2019.

The officer drew attention to a 2007 memorandum prepared by the Office of the US Secretary of Defence regarding UP-2, a project mapping dangerous pathogens in Ukraine, whose “main purpose”, in Kirillov’s words, was “to collect information on the molecular composition of pathogens characteristic to Ukraine, and to transfer strain samples”.
DTRA document on the approval of project concept UP-2 (Multi-pathogen Mapping), to be carried out in accordance with the 2005 “Policy Guidance for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevention Program in Ukraine.”
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

The complete six-page “Partner Project Agreement” on UP-2 can be found here.

A similar memorandum was prepared for project UP-1, studying rickettsia and other diseases spread by arthropods, Kirillov said, pointing out that the document required for all of the dangerous pathogens collected to be transferred to the Central Reference Laboratory in Kiev, allowing them to be transferred to the US.

The “Partner Project Agreement” on project UP-1 can be found here.

DoD Memorandum approving project UP-1 dated 19 February, 2008.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

The RCB Defence Troops also published documentation on UP-4, a programme investigating the possibility of spreading dangerous infections through migratory birds, which the MoD has already previously reported on at length. The “UP-4 Project Option Year 2 Quarterly Report” for the period from October 2019-January 2020 shows that a total of 991 specimens from wild birds were collected by researchers.

Excerpt from Defense Threat Reduction Agency report on project UP-4.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

Nine pages of the 50+ page DTRA report, prepared by Pentagon contractor Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp in collaboration with Metabiota, can be found here.

The documents released Friday by the RCB Defence Troops also included a detailed 2019 Black & Veatch report for the DTRA detailing its activities in Ukraine, including work on some 19 separate research projects, and collaboration with a host of Ukrainian and international organisations, including the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, the USDA, the CDC, several American universities, and Western pharmaceutical giants.

Dozens of pages from the 63-page document, containing a goldmine of important details, can be found and downloaded here.

Page from 2019 report by Pentagon contractor Black & Veatch on some of the company’s many projects in Ukraine.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

Ukraine’s Own Security Service Warned About Dangers of Cooperation With US

Friday’s document dump also included a letter by a Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) officer expressing concern about epidemiological threats posed by US involvement in biological activities in Ukraine.

The letter, written by Col. A.A. Lemeshov, deputy head of the SBU Directorate in the Kherson Region and addressed to Col G.I. Kuznetsov, deputy chief of the Anti-Terrorist Centre and Analytical Department head Col. S.I. Shanaida, was sent on 28 February 2017, and focused on the safety of Ukrainian laboratories and the threat of biological terrorism.

Lemeshov bluntly warned that “recently, the potential threat to the epidemiological and epizootic situation in our country has taken on increasing importance, due to attempts by the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency through the Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp to establish control over the operations of microbiological laboratories in Ukraine for the study of pathogens of especially dangerous infectious diseases which can be used to create new biological weapons or improve old ones”.

The officer stressed that “in order to maintain the stability of biosecurity in Ukraine, and to prevent attempts to accumulate pathogen samples in its territories under the pretext of ‘studying the specifics of local strains and determining the degree of virulence of the obtained samples among the population’, it is advisable to track the activity of Black & Veatch Special Project Corp’s ‘programmes of involvement in joint biological activities'”.

The original, Ukrainian-language document can be found here. A Russian-language translation can be found here.
Russian Defence Ministry photograph of document by Ukrainian Security Service officer explicitly warning of the dangers created by US military-biological activities in Ukraine to the nation’s security.
© Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

Kirillov’s RCB Defence Troops have spent months briefing media on the extent of US military biological activities in Ukraine, citing seized documents and other materials to reveal how the Pentagon, US government agencies and corporations have cooperated with their Ukrainian counterparts to engage in dangerous research on Ukrainian territory.

Earlier this month, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev indicated that Moscow intends to initiate a formal probe at the United Nations into possible US violations of the Biological Weapons Convention in Ukraine.

In a document-filled briefing earlier this month, Kirillov revealed that in addition to its use by the US military to study deadly pathogens, Ukraine has acted as a guinea pig for Western drug companies, including Pfizer, Battelle, Gilead, Dynaport Vaccine, AbbVie, Eli Lilly & Co, Merck, Moderna, and others, to test medicines which could not be tested in their home countries for safety reasons.

Briefing on the Results of the Analysis of Documents Related to the Military Biological Activities of the United States on the Territory of Ukraine