Some media “factcheckers” claimed there weren’t any biolabs working with dangerous pathogens in Ukraine. But there are, as the World Health Organization is now making clear. Bloomberg News reports:
The World Health Organization asked laboratory facilities in Ukraine to dispose of potentially harmful pathogens to avoid spills as Russia’s assault on the country carries into its third week.
The request was part of normal safety protocols, Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesman in Lviv, Ukraine, told a media briefing in Geneva on Friday. In the case of a threat, “labs should dispose of pathogens safely to avoid spills,” he said.
The spokesman didn’t identify what pathogens might be at risk nor when the guidance was given to the Ukrainian labs. The move was first reported by Reuters.
Separately, the WHO said it had confirmed 26 attacks on health care facilities, workers and infrastructure in Ukraine resulting in 12 deaths, including an attack on a maternity hospital. The WHO said it was working to confirm recent reports of an assault on a psychiatric facility that housed more than 300 people.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented attacks on hospitals, kindergartens and schools, spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell said at the briefing in Geneva.
“The number of health-care facilities being hit is shocking,” she said. “Attacks on civilians are prohibited under international law and may amount to war crimes.”