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Russia accused the US of sponsoring research into the creation of biological weapons in Ukraine on Thursday, as Moscow ramped up its effort to retake key Ukrainian cities.

"The goal of this — and other Pentagon-funded biological research in Ukraine," Russian defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said in a televised briefing, "was to build a method for the stealthy transmission of lethal viruses."

According to Konashenkov, the ministry got documents documenting US military-biological activity in Ukraine, including the export of Ukrainian biomaterial.

 He stated, Washington "plans to conduct research on bird, bat, and reptile infections, as well as African swine fever and anthrax,"

"Bat coronavirus samples have been tested at bio laboratories set up and sponsored in Ukraine," says the report. Konashenkov added.

Both Washington and Kyiv have denied the presence of biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine, which has been under siege by tens of thousands of Russian troops since February 24.

At 2018, Russia accused the US of secretly conducting biological tests in a lab in Georgia, a former Soviet republic that, like Ukraine, aspires to join NATO and the European Union.