US, allies accuse Russia of using UN Security Council to ‘launder’ disinformation on Ukraine

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The United States and its allies on Friday accused Russia of using the UN Security Council to attempt to “launder” disinformation and conspiracy theories as Moscow’s representative accused the US of engaging in biological weapons projects in Ukraine.

“This morning, Russia is once again attempting to use this Council to launder its disinformation, spread its propaganda, and justify its unprovoked and brutal attack on Ukraine,” a joint statement by the US, Albania, France, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom said. “We know this because it’s a well-worn playbook. Just one week ago, they convened the Council under precisely the same pretenses, and we heard a litany of bombastic and preposterous lies.”

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Russia Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, right, confers during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine March 17, 2022, at UN headquarters.

Russia Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, right, confers during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine March 17, 2022, at UN headquarters.
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The statement said that the claims are “designed for one purpose: to deflect responsibility for Russia’s war of choice and the humanitarian catastrophe it has caused.”

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the US of helping the Ukrainian ministry of defense to create components for the biological weapons to the tune of $32 million funded by the Pentagon.

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“There is more and more proof that at the center of Eastern Europe right until the very last minute there was a dangerous military and biological activity being carried out, the consequences of which at any time could spread beyond the country and even into the region, “he said. “The scale of casualties, including among the population of European countries is hard to imagine — coronavirus would be nothing compared with this.”

Nebenzia’s claims were dismissed first by Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN’s high representative for disarmament affairs, who told the Council that the UN “is not aware of any such biological weapons programs.”

She also highlighted the death toll as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the UN Human Rights Office says stands at 780 dead, including 58 children. There have been 2,032 casualties recorded so far, but Nakamitsu said the actual number is believed to be much higher.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Nebenzia of repeating “things that sound like they were forwarded to him in a chain email on a dark corner of the internet.”

“President Biden has a word for this kind of talk — malarkey,” she said.

She said that Ukraine has “public health facilities proudly supported and recognized by the US government, the World Health Organization and other governments and international institutions.” She noted that Russia has a pattern of accusing other countries of doing what it itself is planning to do and Russia’s own history of using chemical weapons against political opponents.

“We continue to believe that it is possible that Russia may be planning on using chemical or biological agents against the Ukrainian people,” she said. “We are not going to dignify Russia’s disinformation or conspiracy theory, but we will continue to sound the alarm and tell the world where we think Russia is heading.”

Allies were similarly unimpressed by the Russian presentation.

“What are we talking about here?” Albania’s representative said. “Non-existent chemical weapons programs in Ukraine developed in non-existent laboratories and financed by non-existent programs. Russian claims…remain unverified, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and not independently verified. In a word — not credible.”

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The UK was similarly blunt, calling the Russian claims “nonsense.”

“Today’s charade is really not worthy of a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The only thing this Council needs to hear from the Russian Federation…is that Russian troops are leaving Ukraine,” Ambassador Barbara Woodward said.

Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.

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