We regret that yet again this Chamber is being used as a stage for the Russian disinformation campaign. The sole purpose of these false allegations is to provide a smoke-screen. One aimed at sowing confusion, and drawing attention away from Russia’s own unprovoked, illegal, and brutal warfare in Ukraine.
Let me be clear: Norway is determined to uphold a total ban on biological weapons. Allegations of the violation of the Biological Weapons Convention are something we take seriously, and merit scrutiny.
Norway has meticulously assessed the documents provided by the Russian Federation- circulated to the BWC and this Council. Norway also listened carefully to the exchanges during the formal consultations under Article Five earlier this fall.
Yet we have heard nothing – and read nothing – that even comes close to substantiating the allegations put forward. The consultations have not demonstrated cause for concern regarding violations of the BWC by the United States and Ukraine.
Contrary to Russia’s assertions, the documentation strongly suggests that the cited cooperation between the United States and Ukraine indeed had a legitimate, peaceful purpose. A purpose fully in line with the provisions on International Cooperation and Assistance in Article Ten of the BWC.
It is intolerable that Russia repeatedly uses the BWC's mechanisms to criticise international assistance, which is encouraged under Article Ten, a cornerstone of this convention.
We know - better than ever - that cross-border cooperation is essential in strengthening our collective resilience to biological threats. It is therefore imperative that we speak out forcefully and resolutely against attempts to falsely frame peaceful cooperation and assistance activities as a form of non-compliance.
Over the last months Russia has made numerous allegations that Ukraine is planning military operations that involve chemical, biological, or radioactive material.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, and the very principles of the UN Charter.
Let me end by underscoring again that Norway condemns Russia’s war against Ukraine.
We demand Russia halt fighting, withdraw its troops immediately, and stop causing death, suffering, and destruction.