A Russian official has claimed that recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country were not accidents, but deliberate acts of biological terrorism aimed to undermine the development of pig production in Russia.
Alexander Tkachev, governor of Krasnodar Territory – one of regions at the centre of the outbreaks – said: “Almost simultaneously, ASF outbreaks have been reported in facilities in the Ust-Labinsk, Krasnoarmeiski, Kalininsky, Korenovsky and Seversky districts of the region.
“Infection has entered the biggest complexes with the highest levels of biological security in different areas of the region almost at the same time. This is only possible in one case – sabotage, planned introductions of infection to the facilities. Our law enforcement agencies should investigate this situation.”
The regional department of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) is already investigating claims that the outbreaks in the Krasnodar region were not an accident. According to the region’s district attorney Leonid Korzhineka, Krasnodar’s economy has lost RUB500m (US$16.7m) over two years as a result of ASF, and the situation is therefore very serious.
However, management of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) said they doubted that the outbreaks could be acts of sabotage.
“I have grave doubts that the Krasnodar region could be subject to this kind of sabotage. There is not one country in the world that would dare to take such action,” said deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor Nikolai Vlasov.
However, he also said that ASF could theoretically act as “biological weapons, just like anthrax”.