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According to Reuters, the World Health Organization advised Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens housed in the country's public health laboratories to avoid "any potential spills" that could spread disease among the population.

According to biosecurity experts, Russia's movement of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its cities has increased the risk of disease-causing pathogens escaping if any of those facilities is damaged.

 Ukraine, like many other countries, has public health laboratories working on strategies to lessen the threat of severe diseases that harm both animals and humans, the most recent of which is COVID-19. The United States, the European Union, and the World Health Organization have all provided financing to its laboratories.

 In response to Reuters' questions about its work with Ukraine prior to and during Russia's invasion, the WHO said in an email that it has been working with Ukrainian public health labs for several years to promote security practises that help prevent "accidental or deliberate release of pathogens."

 "As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended Ukraine's Ministry of Health and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to avert any potential spillage," according to the WHO, a UN agency.

 The WHO refused to identify when the suggestion was issued or what infections or toxins were kept in Ukraine's laboratory. Furthermore, when asked if its suggestions were followed, the agency did not react.

 Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and at their embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

 Ukraine's laboratory capabilities have been at the centre of a developing information battle since Russia began sending troops into Ukraine two weeks ago.

 On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reaffirmed a long-standing claim that the US operates a biowarfare facility in Ukraine, an allegation that both Washington and Kiev have denied.

 According to Zakharova, documents discovered by Russian soldiers in Ukraine suggested a "emergency attempt to remove evidence of military biological programmes" by destroying lab samples.

 Reuters was unable to independently verify her statements.

 A Ukrainian presidential official said, "Ukraine categorically denies any such allegation." US government officials also vehemently refuted Zakharova's claims, suggesting that Russia may use them as a pretext to deploy its own chemical or biological weapons.

 The WHO statement made no mention of biowarfare.

All parties should collaborate to "safely and securely dispose of any infections they come across, and to reach out for technical assistance if needed," according to the FDA. It volunteered to help with technical advice and coordination in any way it could.

 According to diplomats, the United Nations Security Council will convene on Friday at Russia's request to consider Moscow's unsubstantiated claims of US biological actions in Ukraine.