The White House has denied Russian allegations that Ukraine is developing nuclear or biological weapons, calling them "preposterous" and "an obvious ploy" to try to justify further future Russian aggression.
"We took note of Russia's false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We've also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories," White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Wednesday evening.
"This is preposterous. It's the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent."
Psaki went on to say that the allegations are "an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine."
"Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them," Psaki said.
Network of bio-labs
The Russian Defence Ministry has claimed there was a network of bio-labs in Ukraine working on behalf of the US Defence Department, a claim long dismissed as inaccurate.
Security experts from a Western government warned that Russia could use nonconventional weapons in Ukraine due to Moscow's accusations, a strategy that has been deployed in Syria, a government expert told reporters.