At the UN Security Council: Albania dismisses Russian claims about biolabs in Ukraine as fake

The Council should not be served with fantasies and starry-eyed stories, but with proof, independently verified and corroborated. This is not the case.

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ferit HOXHA, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Albania

(Security CouncilEmergency Meeting – Ukraine, 11 March 2022)

Madam President,

Let me thank USG Di Carlo and USG Nakamitsu, for their information.

I would like to make the following points:

First: we meet at the request of Russia following its allegations on a possible program of development of biological weapons in Ukraine. We listened to their statement carefully.

Madame President,

Any issue regarding weapons of mass destruction should never be taken lightly.

As we just heard from the USG, the United Nations is not aware of any of the alleged programs inconsistent with international treaty obligations, including on chemical or biological weapons. We heard about health facilities Ukraine.

We have heard, repeatedly, a firm rebuttal, at the highest levels, from both the US and Ukraine. Therefore, Russia’s allegations are, in our opinion, part of information warfare, false, unsubstantiated, part of the usual propaganda and the disinformation coming from Russia, conspiracy theories not worth our time.

The Council should not be served with fantasies and starry-eyed stories, but with proof, independently verified and corroborated. This is not the case.

However regrettable all this is, it is hardly surprising since everything, absolutely everything we have been hearing from Russia regarding Ukraine has been false, fabricated, distorted.

These are in the public space and do not deserve mentioning but the “palme d’or” goes to the Russian declaration, just two days ago, according to which, Russia has not attacked Ukraine. Well, as we saw last week, the UN General Assembly has a different account.

In every other situation, everyone would have thought this is a joke, except for the fact that this “joke” is destroying a country, is killing civilians and is responsible of more than 2.5 million refugees and counting. That translates to 7 thousand people per hour! Reportedly, this is also responsible for the death of several thousand Russian soldiers, but this is an issue for Russia and its people.  All the more reasons for an immediate ceasefire to leave place to negotiations.

Second, Madam President, Russia has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and in poisoning its own citizens, like the jailed opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals. Bellingcat reporting has been brilliantly been able to make a direct and irrefutable link of the attempted deadly poisoning with GRU high officials.

We should therefore be very worried that in spreading such disinformation, a crescendo of allegations about weapons of mass destruction could serve as yet another pretext for Russia to prepare the ground and use chemical or biological weapons during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine while accusing others.

After all, Russia has accused Ukraine of Genocide in Donbass, which is ridiculous; it has also accused Kyiv of seeking to produce nuclear weapons, which is outrageous; it has accused Ukraine of bombarding its own cities, which is preposterous.

As we have heard many times here, including yesterday, Russia has and continues to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against the civilian population.

Dear Colleagues,

What should retain our attention and deserves our time is the escalating situation that is wreaking two countries, threatening a whole continent and disrupting the entire world.  

15 days into this brutal invasion and the growing armored might of Russia, with the open complicity of Belarus, has stalled before the steel-clad and indisputable right of a nation to defend its land.

Russia’s goals are as abhorrent as the means it is using to achieve them. We are horrified by the catastrophic situation in Mariupol and other inhumanly besieged cities where civilians are starved; by the use of cluster ammunition and in urban areas; by the redoubling of blind shelling and bombardments; by more than 26 assaults on various health-related facilities and/or ambulances as confirmed by WHO; by outrageous and amoral acts which constitute war crimes.

Nothing seems to be going as planned in Ukraine. The unprovoked, unjustified and premeditated act of aggression by Russia, with the complicity of Belarus, lacks any legal or moral ground, the very ones that, in turn, empower Ukrainians to fight heroically, be ready to die for the ideals they believe in, for the right to choose who they want to be, be the shapers of their own destiny. In this respect, we welcome the conclusions of the European Council, which, among other welcomed the will of Ukraine to join the European Union. 

We are warmhearted by the Ukrainian resistance, incomprehensible to the invader, and which should be seen as an inspiration and a reminder that freedom prevails over tyranny.

Let’s not forget: if Russia makes its way into Ukraine, it will not stop there, it will want more, since, as history remind us, aggression works like a drug.

This is why David must and will prevail.  

Thank you.