Russia: 'Biological weapons threat cannot be discounted’ — Russian Deputy FM Ryabkov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that the «threat of biological weapons use by both state and non-state actors cannot be discounted», whilst commenting on modern biosecurity challenges at a conference in Sochi, on Wednesday. Sergei Ryabkov went on saying that the risk needs to be acknowledged since the application of biological weapons «can be disguised as natural outbreaks... Еще of infectious diseases among humans, animals or plants.» The Russian diplomat described the attempts of some states to hinder the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention's (BTWC) verification mechanism to «gain unilateral access to foreign microbiological objects of their interest» as «rather absurd.» «It is unclear why they need to inspect such facilities if they deny the possibility of verification within the BTWC», continued the Deputy Minister. During his talk, the Russian diplomat highlighted Russia's current objective to adopt «a legally binding protocol relating to all its provisions and including verification.» He also noted that concerns related to the absence of such legal binding tools are escalated by «excessive funding of microbiological dual-use programs and the conducting of questionable experiments.» The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was signed in 1972 and ratified by 22 states. The document has been repeatedly criticised the lack of a verification mechanism.

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