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Mitt Romney accuses Tulsi Gabbard of ‘treacherous lies’ that ‘could cost lives’ about Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Utah Sen. Mitt Romney slammed former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii on Sunday, suggesting her comments about the existence of so-called “American biolabs” in Ukraine would lead to people’s deaths.

The Republican senator accused his former House counterpart, who served as a Democrat but moved far to the right since leaving office, of spreading “treacherous lies” amounting to “Russian propaganda.” Her statement was made in reference to a video posted by Ms Gabbard which claimed the existence of “25 to 30” US-funded bio-labs which she claimed “if they were breached, they would release and spread deadly pathogens to the US ./the world”.

There are a handful of Ukrainian-run biothreat analysis and defense labs in Ukraine, but there is no evidence to suggest they are working on biological weapons as far-right commentators and the Russian government have claimed. It is also not certain that the labs will release dangerous pathogens if they are damaged in the ongoing conflict, as experts have worked to destroy any dangerous substances on site.

The US and Ukrainian governments have denied the existence of biological weapons facilities in Ukraine. Gabbard did not claim the existence of biological weapons in Ukraine or elsewhere, but suggested in his video that the labs contained dangerous pathogens that would be accidentally released if the sites were attacked.

However, he expanded his criticism of US-funded biomedical research around the world, pointing to the hundreds of US-funded research centers to research and cure dangerous diseases. The former congresswoman would go on to affirm that Everyone those labs were conducting “dangerous research” and should be closed.

“Now, after realizing how dangerous and vulnerable these labs are, they should all have been shut down two years ago,” he said.

The Ukrainian government ordered all such labs in the country to dispose of any pathogen samples after Russia’s invasion began, an action the Defense Department said “limit[s] the danger of an accidental release of pathogens”.

It was not clear which particular statement by Gabbard amounted to what Romney called “false Russian propaganda.”

“Tulsi Gabbard is repeating false Russian propaganda. His treacherous lies may well cost lives,” Romney’s tweet in full read.

the independent has reached out to the former congresswoman for comment.

While Ms. Gabbard did not directly accuse the US of nefarious ends in funding Ukraine’s government-operated labs, the narrative plays into the hands of the Russian government, according to US officials, given that the Biden administration has said in recent days that his Russian counterparts are spreading false claims about alleged US-backed bioweapons manufacturing in Ukraine that US officials say could be a pretext for the deployment of chemical or biological weapons by the military Russian in its bloody attack through Ukrainian territory.

Russia’s invasion has already reportedly killed thousands of civilians and US officials are now openly warning that Moscow’s use of chemical or biological weapons would significantly escalate the conflict.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that the Biden administration would make Russia pay a “high price” if chemical or biological weapons were used in Ukraine, but did not define what specific punishment Moscow would face. The White House has been adamant that no US or NATO troops will be used to defend Ukrainian territory.

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