Russia Accuses Georgia of Mosquito Invasion

At the Arria formula UN Security Council meeting, Russia pressed again sensationalist bio-warfare allegations against Georgia and the U.S., particularly targeting Tbilisi-based Lugar Center for Public Health Research.

Igor Kirillov, chief of Russia’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, reiterated on April 6 earlier allegations that the African Swine Fever had spread from Georgia to Russia, Europe and China.

“We can say with high probability that the strain of African Swine Fever with increased contagiousness was developed in one of the bio-laboratories subordinated to the Pentagon,” said Kirillov.

He voiced similar claims in March, few days after Russia began its bloody invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian defense official claimed the disease cost Russia USD 100 million in direct economic losses, while indirect losses exceeded USD 500 million.

“In the region where the Lugar Center is deployed, the situation is particularly bad for diseases that are spread by insect vectors,” Kirillov continued.

Citing the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Kirillov claimed the range of various species of mosquitoes, previously found only in southern countries, “is shifting from Georgia to several federal subjects of Russia.”

The Russian military official also added that the spread of ticks had caused outbreaks of Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever in Stavropol Krai and the Rostov region.

Further, he claimed Georgian specialists are restricted in the Lugar Research Center and have no access to American documents.

“This is done under the pretext of U.S. legal restrictions on access to secret programs and restricted areas. It is not surprising that employees of the Lugar Center from among the Georgian citizens do not have information about the Pentagon’s classified developments, which are implemented in the laboratory.”

The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a subsidiary of the Georgian Health Ministry’s National Center for Disease Control, has been a target of Moscow’s disinformation and reproval since its very launch in 2011.

Moscow voiced the pig disease accusations already back in 2012, when the chief of consumer protection agency (RosPotrebNadzor), Gennady Onishchenko, alleged Georgia had brought the disease in Russia. In that context, he mentioned Lugar Center, saying he could not understand why U.S. “military medics” and “epidemiologists” were stationed in Georgia “at our borders.”

In 2020, Russian ruling party MP Yury Shvytkin went as far to suggest that chemical nerve-agents like “Novichok” — that Moscow is accused of using against its critics — are produced in the U.S. and Georgian labs.

Also in 2020, Russian-controlled KGB of occupied Tskhinvali Region alleged that “South Ossetian sharp-eared moths” were under the interest of the Lugar Center.

The Georgian Government has repeatedly denied the accusations, opening the lab to foreign media and experts for inspection in 2018, to which Russian military medics declined to join.

Also back in 2018, NCDC Georgia asserted that the facility, now fully managed and financed by the Georgian Government, fulfills its international obligations for transparency in accordance with the UN Conventions.

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