The State Duma on Thursday hosted the first meeting of the parliamentary commission to investigate the circumstances “related to the establishment of American biological laboratories in Ukraine.” Although the Duma states that the work of the commission will be public, the meeting was held behind closed doors. So far, according to a Kommersant source, the deputies and senators involved in the investigation have learned nothing new, except for the already known information from the Russian Defense Ministry.
The idea of conducting the third official parliamentary investigation in the last 20 years arose at a meeting of the State Duma Council on March 9. Earlier, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said at a hearing in the US Senate that Ukraine had biological research facilities and that Kyiv and Washington feared that the materials accumulated there would not fall into the hands of the Russian military. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on February 24, the day of the start of the Russian special operation, the staff of these facilities destroyed particularly dangerous pathogens, among which were allegedly the causative agents of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera.
Kiev and Washington insist that the research was exclusively peaceful.
On March 31, at the first meeting of the commission, which included 14 deputies and 14 senators, the information of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the topic of the investigation was heard, according to the Duma website. Journalists were not allowed to attend the event, although Irina Yarovaya, co-chair of the commission and vice-speaker of the Duma, said that the work of this structure would be public. According to Ms. Yarova, the parliamentarians began to study the submitted documents. In addition, four working groups have been established within the commission on biomedical analysis, international law, security, scientific and information analysis.
However, deputies and senators have already made the first conclusions.
As Irina Yarovaya told reporters after the meeting, “it is indisputable that the United States carried out secret activities in Ukraine, that they created laboratories in which high-risk pathogens were studied.”
She also stressed that “it is obvious that thanks to a special operation in defense of the people of the DPR and LPR, the facts of dangerous US activities in Ukraine were revealed.”
The commission intends to “work out” the possibility of inviting US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and son of US President Hunter Biden to testify (the investment fund under his leadership, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, funded the establishment of biolaboratories in Ukraine).
The next meeting will be held on April 4, at which parliamentarians will discuss the possibility of epidemics in Russia as a result of the work of these laboratories, said co-chairman of the commission, Vice Speaker of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev. Answering a journalist’s question whether he believes that the coronavirus pandemic is also connected with the work of biolaboratories in Ukraine, the senator assured that the commission members will not adjust the conclusions to the pre-set task, and the final report will be based only on facts. According to him, according to the law, a parliamentary investigation takes a year, but the commission intends to work quickly. Its final report will be sent to the President of Russia and to international organizations. The Commission also plans to prepare proposals to improve the Biological Weapons Convention.
At the same time, as one of the members of the commission told Kommersant, the parliamentarians did not receive any new information at the first sitting, only what had already been reported by the Russian Defense Ministry. The question of what other sources of information the commission will use was not discussed on Thursday. It should be noted that on Thursday the Ministry of Defense at a briefing presented a number of new data on the alleged development of biological weapons in Ukraine.
The existence of biolaboratories is a priori considered proven, and deputies and senators themselves do not collect evidence or seize documents to confirm these facts, because they are in another state, says political scientist Pavel Sklyanchuk.
Although a conditional test tube in the style of Colin Powell (former US Secretary of State, who in February 2003, speaking at a UN Security Council, demonstrated a test tube with alleged samples of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq), they could show, the expert said. According to him, in the conditions of the information war it is important not to “cover up” the topic and collect a complete structured dossier, which will then become an official document and a basis for decision-making by the country’s leadership.