Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) pressed Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on whether or not officials were concerned that the Russian military might use chemical or biological weapons in the ongoing war against Ukraine.
Rubio questioned Nuland first about Ukraine’s capabilities with regard to chemical or biological weapons, and Nuland said that Ukraine did have biological research facilities. She also noted that there were a number of officials who were concerned about what might happen if Russian occupation forces were able to take control of those Ukrainian research facilities.
“Ukraine has ‘biological research facilities,’ says Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, when asked by Sen Rubio if Ukraine has biological or chemical weapons, and says she’s worried Russia may get them. But she says she’s 100% sure if there’s a biological attack, it’s Russia,” independent journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.
Ukraine has "biological research facilities," says Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, when asked by Sen Rubio if Ukraine has biological or chemical weapons, and says she's worried Russia may get them. But she says she's 100% sure if there's a biological attack, it's Russia. pic.twitter.com/uo3dHDMfAS
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 8, 2022
“Let me ask you, does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?” Rubio asked.
“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of,” Nuland replied. “So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces, should they approach.”
“I’m sure you’re aware that the Russian propaganda groups are already putting out there all kinds of information about how they’ve uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to release biological weapons in the country with NATO’s coordination,” Rubio pressed further, asking, “If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside of Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100 percent, it would be the Russians that would be behind it?”
“There is no doubt in my mind, Senator,” Nuland agreed. “And it is classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they’re planning to do themselves.”
Rubio asked one final question, pivoting to address the dire financial situation in Russia amid sanctions from multiple sources.
“Last question: I am certain that the Russians were looking at their foreign reserves as a way to buffer sanctions. But now that we’ve sanctioned the central bank along with others, do we have an idea of what percentage of their reserves are frozen or inaccessible to them?” he asked.
“Virtually all of them are now frozen,” Nuland replied, adding that because the sanctions in the financial sector had already been in place for nearly two full weeks, Russia was really beginning to feel the full impact. “And the whole point of putting so many of these top 10 banks under sanctions is to make it impossible for them to get access to their cash in hard currency.”
Rubio has previously warned that the United States should not expect Russian President Vladimir Putin to behave as he has in the past — and that if chemical or biological weapons were deployed in the current conflict with Ukraine, Russia would bear responsibility for that.
“If God forbid there are any chemical or biological weapons used or any nuclear incidents in #Ukraine have zero doubt who is behind it,” he tweeted.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 7, 2022