The United States and Ukraine agreed yesterday to work jointly to prevent the spread of biological weapons, signing a pact that clears the way for Ukraine's government to receive U.S. aid to improve security at facilities where dangerous microbes are kept.
The agreement, the result of more than a year of negotiations, was announced by Sens. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The senators credited Ukraine's reformist leaders, ushered into power by last fall's Orange Revolution, with breaking bureaucratic resistance to the pact.
One lab to receive funding is the I.I. Mechnikov Antiplague Scientific and Research Institute, in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. The institute was part of a Cold War network of "antiplague" stations that supplied highly lethal pathogens to Soviet bioweapons factories, reports Washington Post.
"The agreement has a benefit for the citizens of both countries," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, According to Indystar.
As Lugar and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., met with Ukrainian leaders, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a rare written apology to the senators for detaining them for more than three hours Sunday as they tried to leave Russia for Ukraine.
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