The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the U.S.-funded medical research facility in Tbilisi on April 29. Russia made a statement criticizing America’s compliance to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
The Russian comments were issued in response to the U.S. State Department’s 2017 Report in cooperation with arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament agreements and commitments.
The MFA said that questions on American consent remain unanswered, causing “growing concern” in Moscow, and that American side is forcing Russia to “think about the real, not publicly declared, military-biological agenda of the the United States.”
“We are concerned over the consistent development of the U.S. military-biological infrastructure along the perimeter of the Russian borders. Significant strengthening the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate in Georgia (Alekseevka village) is particularly disturbing.”
The Ministry was referring to the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate – Georgia (USAMRD-G), part of the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a U.S.-funded biological research laboratory in Tbilisi. Its mission, according to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, is the identification and reduction of medical threats and combating endemic disease threats in cooperation with the Government of Georgia, which it is helping to build “capacity for a self-sustaining medical research organization.”The Lugar Center is a joint Georgian and American facility. According to Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), the Center “is top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory of Georgia’s public health system.” The NCDC website reports that the Lugar Center is currently being entirely transferred to the Government of Georgia, which will take full responsibility for the Center’s funding and operation from 2018 – confirms Georgian News Agency Civil.ge
In June 2015, Russian Foreign Ministry accused American and Georgian governments of “trying to cover the true contents and direction” of USAMRD-G operating in the Lugar Center. In February 2016 Onishchenko, said that the Lugar Center could infect mosquitoes with Zika virus.