We congratulate you on the appointment to this important position and wish you success in your work. We are certain that under your leadership the Consultative meeting can reach the goals set in the mechanism of Article V of the Convention and rectify the current situation. We reaffirm that the Russian delegation will support this work.
The Consultative meeting was convened on the request of the Russian Federation in connection with its legitimate questions to the United States and Ukraine concerning the fulfillment of their respective obligations under the Convention in the context of the operation of biological laboratories on the Ukrainian territory.
For a long time, the Russian Federation has openly expressed its complaints and concerns regarding the military biological activities of the United States and its allies outside their national territories, including in laboratories in the territories of the former Soviet Union Republics in the vicinity of Russian borders, with direct assistance and participation of military agencies and affiliated organizations. Such activities pose a direct threat to the biological security of the Russian Federation.
In the last ten years, through the statements and comments of the MFA of Russia we have regularly drawn attention to the military biological activities of the Unites States and its allies in the post-Soviet space, regarding the so-called reports of the US Department of State on the fulfillment of and compliance with the agreements and obligations in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. In recent years, this issue has been increasingly mentioned in our statements at the BTWC forum, as well as at various relevant international conferences and seminars.
In the US reports submitted annually within the framework of the BTWC confidence building measures that were developed by the States Parties „in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions“ there is no information on the programs and projects implemented outside the national territories or their funding. Ukraine’s reports contain no relevant information on its cooperation with the United States. Our multiple calls to Washington to provide exhaustive clarifications regarding these activities have been left without any satisfactory answers of substance.
In the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Federation has obtained a number of documents and evidence that shed light on the true nature of the interaction of the Pentagon and its contractors with Ukraine in the military biological sphere. The analysis of these materials testifies to the non-compliance by the United States and Ukraine with the BTWC provisions.
Outstanding questions of the Russian Federation to the United States and Ukraine concerning the fulfillment of their respective obligations under the Convention in the context of the operation of biological laboratories on the Ukrainian territory along with the copies of the documents we have obtained have been distributed among the States Parties to the Convention with a courtesy translation into English. We are ready to present these materials in detail during the consultative meeting along with the results of our analyses and thoroughly discuss any questions that States Parties might have.
Yet, first of all, we expect to receive all necessary explanations from the representatives of the United States and Ukraine regarding the substance of our concerns and prod Washington and Kiev to take comprehensive exhaustive measures to rectify the situation. Depending on the results of the Consultative meeting Russia will build its further policy to ensure national, regional and global security, including specific steps to strengthen the BTWC taking into account the forthcoming BTWC Ninth Review Conference to be held at the end of the year.
When organizing the consultative meeting, Russia acted in strict compliance with the understandings of the BTWC States Parties reflected in the final documents of the BTWC Second and Third Review Conferences.
At first, we took all necessary actions to settle the situation within the bilateral formats. In mid-June 2022, we sent relevant memos to the US and Ukraine with a list of concrete questions and a request to provide an exhaustive response to them, as well as a notification about the possibility to start procedures under BTWC Article V. We received no coherent answers.
Given the remaining unacceptable biological security situation, in late June 2022, we sent to the two depositaries of the BTWC a request to initiate the procedure of convening a Consultative meeting along with a mass of documents attached to substantiate our concerns. Informal consultations for an introductory discussion of organizational matters of the forthcoming meeting took place at the end of July 2022.
Under BTWC Article V, the States Parties may „undertake to consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective of, or in the application of the provisions of, the Convention“. When agreeing and approving the agenda of today’s meeting, the Russian side believed that the delegations concerned would be committed, with the support of their experts, to rigorously sort out the situation, exchange assessments, formulate professional questions and receive comprehensive answers. We are sure they have such an opportunity.
We expect the Consultative meeting to achieve the set objectives and resolve the situation related to the military biological activities in the territory of Ukraine.