The UN Security Council will meet on Friday at Russia’s request to discuss what Moscow claims are “the military biological activities of the US on the territory of Ukraine”.
The allegations have been vehemently denied by the Biden administration.
“This is exactly the kind of false flag effort we have warned Russia might initiate to justify a biological or chemical weapons attack,” Olivia Dalton, spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations, said late on Thursday.
“We’re not going to let Russia gaslight the world or use the UN Security Council as a venue for promoting their disinformation.”
The Russian request, announced in a tweet on Thursday afternoon from its first deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky, follows the US’ rejection of Russian accusations that Ukraine is running chemical and biological labs with US support.
In response to this week’s accusations by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova — made without evidence — White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a public warning on Wednesday that Russia might use chemical or biological weapons against Ukraine, the neighbour it has invaded.
Ms Psaki called Russia’s claim “preposterous” and tweeted: “This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Russia’s accusation that Ukraine is preparing to attack with chemical or biological weapons. He also said the accusation itself was a bad sign.
“That worries me very much because we have often been convinced that if you want to know Russia’s plans, they are what Russia accuses others of,” he said late on Thursday in his nightly address to the nation.
“I am a reasonable person. The president of a reasonable country and reasonable people. I am the father of two children. And no chemical or any other weapon of mass destruction has been developed on my land. The whole world knows this.”
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated on Thursday what he said on Wednesday – that the World Health Organisation, which has been working with the Ukrainian government, “said they are unaware of any activity on the part of the Ukrainian government which is inconsistent with its international treaty obligations, including on chemical weapons or biological weapons”.
The United States for months has warned about Russian “false flag” operations to create a pretext for the invasion.