The information war continues.
The US government has accused Moscow of paving the way for further escalating the war of aggression against Ukraine and using chemical or biological weapons by spreading misinformation.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted on Wednesday that Russia is following a clear pattern of behavior - either to use weapons of mass destruction itself or to fake an attack by the Ukrainians in order to construct a justification for continuing the war.
Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.
Follow I follow
Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.
Follow I follow
Psaki was responding to allegations by Moscow that Ukraine is developing chemical or biological weapons with American help.
For years, the Russian power and media apparatus have been making allegations of alleged "US secret laboratories" in Ukraine and Georgia.
The American collaboration with Ukrainian laboratories, for example, is not secret but official.
They have been around since 2005. According to the governments in Kyiv and Washington, the aim is to secure pathogens and toxins in Ukrainian (not American) facilities and to enable peaceful research and vaccine development.
Allegations of a secret military program have now been revived.
On Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of developing biological weapons "with the support of the United States";
this was discovered as part of the “special operation”, as Moscow calls the war in Ukraine.
The “Kiev regime” destroyed traces of the “program”.
Then on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that around 80 tons of ammonia had been brought to the Kharkiv region.
Ukrainian “nationalists” wanted to launch a “chemical attack” as a “provocation” and then accuse Russia of “using chemical weapons”.
On Thursday, the Department of Defense cited "documents" showing America "planned to work with bird, bat and reptile pathogens" in Ukraine later this year to transmit "African swine fever and anthrax."
It also said Washington and its allies want to create warfare agents that "can affect diverse ethnic populations."
This is blatantly intended to suggest that the Americans want to create a warfare agent aimed at ethnic Russians, and echoes President Vladimir Putin's allegations of "genocide" against Russians.
The story, however, contradicts Putin's statement that Ukrainians and Russians are "one people," which should logically follow that a weapon aimed at Russians would not spare Ukrainians either.
But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also claimed Thursday after his talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Antalya, Turkey, that the Pentagon had set up "military biological laboratories" in Ukraine to create "biological weapons" that were supposed to be "ethnic-oriented".
Psaki called the allegations an obvious scam by Moscow.
Now that Russia has spread this false information, which Beijing also appears to support, it is important to watch carefully whether Moscow is using chemical or biological weapons or whether it is trying to use deception to blame Ukraine for the use of these weapons.
State Department spokesman Ned Price also dismissed Moscow's allegations as "complete nonsense."
The United States did not operate any biological or chemical weapons laboratories in Ukraine and fully respected international treaties on weapons of mass destruction.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric also said in New York that the World Health Organization was “not aware of any activities by the Ukrainian government,
Moscow's accusations are also to be seen against the background of the strategic difficulties faced by the Russian armed forces in their war of aggression.
According to the American intelligence services, the Kremlin underestimated the military resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces and was also struggling with problems in its own troops.
The original expectation that there would be a short campaign and a quick capture of Kiev did not materialize.
The American services therefore expect an escalation by Moscow.
There are fears that weapons of mass destruction could be used after the capital Kyiv or other metropolises such as Kharkiv or Dnipro are surrounded.
In this way, Moscow could try to avoid intensive house-to-house fighting with high losses on its own side.
There is a pattern in which Moscow, as Washington fears, is concerned with more than just justifying war and is possibly preparing its own use of biological or chemical weapons, for which Ukrainian “nationalists” could then be blamed: In Syria, Russia always has again took the forces of the allied Assad regime into protection and held insurgents responsible for the use of chemical weapons and their "staging".Keywords: