The chief of Russia’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, Igor Kirillov, told a news briefing Thursday that one of the key figures was Robert Pope, the Director of the US Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (also known as the Nunn-Lugar program). “Pope authored the idea of creating a central depository of high-threat pathogens in Kiev,” Kirillov said.
Pope was deputy director of operations, readiness and exercises at the DTRA from 2017 until 2020, according to the New Zealand Daily Telegraph. “He previously held various positions at US Air Force European Command (USAFE), US Central Command (USCC), and the Pentagon. Pope participated in the development of radiochemical procedures for monitoring international treaties in the field of nuclear weapons (Air Force Technical Application Center).
Ulana Suprun – Ukraine Ministry of Health
“Published emails revealed a correspondence between Pope and Ukraine’s acting health minister between 2016 and 2019, American-born Ulana Suprun, who went to Ukraine to participate in the US-backed coup in 2014”, the NZ Daily Telegraph writes.
Igor Kirillov pointed out that “in his letter to Health Minister Ulana Suprun (a US citizen, according to TASS) Pope spoke highly of her activities. “In particular, he emphasized her role in providing US specialists with access to Ukrainian biological facilities and the beginning of efforts to form a depository of microorganisms.”
“Let me remind you what this kind of activity led to: according to the available evidence all pathogenic biomaterials were removed from the depository at the beginning of February 2022 and taken by a US military transport plane to the United States via Odessa,” Kirillov said.
Rhys M. Williams- DTRA
Williams took over for Pope as acting DTRA director in 2020, having previously been the agency’s director of development, test and evaluation, accoring to the NZ Daily Telegraph: “He led the Department of Defense’s program to develop capabilities to detect, locate and neutralize foreign WMD and improvised explosive devices. Williams also served as Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the US Department of Energy, the organization responsible for the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal.”
Joanna Wintrol – DTRA Kiev
Kirillov said that Joanna Wintrol, the head of the DTRA office in Ukraine, was responsible for coordination of military biological projects in the country and for personnel selection. Wintrol headed DTRA projects in Ukraine until 2021 at the US Embassy in Kiev’s Defense Threat Reduction Office. “Under her guidance, several projects (UP-4, UP-6 and UP-8) were implemented. They envisaged research into deadly pathogens, such as anthrax, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and leptospirosis,” Kirillov said.
Emails published by the MoD “revealed she directly supervised experiments with deadly pathogens, including the UP-2 Project for “mapping highly infectious diseases in Ukraine,” including anthrax; the UP-4 Project, described as a “risk assessment of particularly dangerous pathogens transmitted by birds in Ukraine during migration”; the UP-8 Project studying “spread of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus and hantaviruses in Ukraine and the potential need for differential diagnosis of patients with suspected leptospirosis. Previously released documents showed she also oversaw Project P-782, conducting research into the transmission of diseases through bats”, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Wintrol moved to Chemical Security and Elimination (CSE) in early 2021, the Telegraph reports. “According to a DTRA publication, CSE was formerly known as the Chemical Weapons Elimination (CWE) program and the Chemical Weapons Destruction (CWD) program. The effort “started in 1992 to build the capacity of the states of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to reduce the threat from chemical weapons (CW) by securing and eliminating CW stockpiles, chemical research capabilities, and production facilities, while also redirecting scientists to peaceful purposes,” the agency said.”
Steven L. Edwards – CEO Black & Veatch
Since 2013, Edwards has been CEO of American engineering firm Black & Veatch, a longtime contractor for the Pentagon used for a variety of construction tasks, according to the Telegraph. “He has been with the company since 1978 and was formerly its Chief Operating Officer. Black & Veatch was long known to be working on Pentagon projects in Ukraine, but the documents seized by Russian forces earlier this month revealed the firm’s job in overseeing biological programs there, including the UP-8 project previously mentioned, studying Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis and hantaviruses.”
Lance Lippencott – Black & Veatch Ukraine
Kirillov also drew attention to the Ukrainian branch of the Black & Veatch company and its chief Lance Lippencott, the main contact person for Ukraine’s defense and health ministry officials. “The company has worked for the Pentagon since 2008 under projects for studying potentially hazardous bioagents, including project UP-1 for studying rickettsia and tick-borne encephalitis virus in arthropods in northwestern Ukraine. For the purpose of global control of the biological situation in the course of the UP-2 project the company introduced a system of remote monitoring of tularemia and anthrax at Ukrainian bio-facilities,” Kirillov said.
According to the Telegraph, Lippencott been the project manager in Ukraine for Black & Veatch and its biological project coordinator since 2011. “In August 2021, he told the Kansas City Business Journal that his work on airborne biological agents in Ukraine had helped Black & Veatch to develop a device for purifying air of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Lippencott is a graduate of the US Army Military Academy at West Point, the Telegraph reports.
Kirillov noted that “Black and Veatch activities aroused many questions, even from Ukrainian special services.” In particular, the Kherson office of the Ukrainian security service SBU back in 2017 noted growing potential risks of a worsening in the epidemiological situation due to the DTRA’s intention to use the Black and Veatch company to establish control of Ukrainian laboratories studying the pathogens of particularly dangerous infections.