Putin claims ‘alarming genetic research’ being conducted in US-built lab in Tbilisi

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that illegal experiments are being allegedly conducted on dogs and rats at the Lugar Centre in Tbilisi and the experiments are managed by Americans. Photo:Alexei Druzhinin/TASS via Getty Images.

Agenda.ge, 19 Oct 2018 - 12:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he has heard information about genetic research being conducted at the US-built, Tbilisi-based Lugar Centre and added that if the information is valid the news is “alarming.”

He stated in Sochi during a session of the Russian-based think tank Valdai Club yesterday, that the research, “which is allegedly being made on dogs and rats, aims to produce substances that will be able to totally change the human appearance.”

Tbilisi has responded to the statements by saying that they are far from reality and only serve Russian foreign policy aims. 

However, Georgian Health Minister David Sergeenko has stated that his body has already made a decision to ask the World Health Organisation to send a mission in Georgia, “which will completely study the activities of the Lugar Centre.”

If Russian experts express wish to get involved in the mission, they will have the opportunity. The mission will be tasked to make its conclusions regarding the activities of the Lugar lab,” Sergeenko said.

Georgian Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze said that Russian scientists and researchers had the opportunity to attend an international medical event at the Lugar Centre next month, with the participation of delegates from 20 foreign countries, but they refused to come to Tbilisi.

Russia has stated that since the opening of the facility in 2013, the Lugar Centre has been fully controlled by Americans and used for their interests in the region.

The government of Georgia says in response that the centre Georgian Health Ministry has full ownership of the facility and as of 2018 the activities of the centre are financed by the Georgia state budget.

The construction of the centre was launched in 2004 based on agreements signed between Georgia and US in 1997 and 2002.