Russia-Ukraine War LIVE Updates: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there had been some progress in Moscow’s talks with Ukraine. “There are certain positive shifts, negotiators on our side tell me,” Putin said in a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, adding that talks continued “practically on a daily basis”.
US banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JP Morgan Chase and Co said they are closing their Russia operations as Kremlin continues to shell Ukrainian cities on Friday. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization advised Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens housed in the country’s public health laboratories to prevent “any potential spills” that would spread disease among the population, the agency told Reuters on Thursday.
Biosecurity experts say Russia’s movement of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its cities have raised the risk of an escape of disease-causing pathogens, should any of those facilities be damaged.
Like many other countries, Ukraine has public health laboratories researching how to mitigate the threats of dangerous diseases affecting both animals and humans including, most recently, COVID-19. Its labs have received support from the United States, the European Union and the WHO.
In response to questions from Reuters about its work with Ukraine ahead of and during Russia’s invasion, the WHO said in an email that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health labs for several years to promote security practices that help prevent “accidental or deliberate release of pathogens.”
“As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills,” the WHO, a United Nations agency, said.
The WHO would not say when it had made the recommendation nor did it provide specifics about the kinds of pathogens or toxins housed in Ukraine’s laboratories. The agency also did not answer questions about whether its recommendations were followed.
On the other hand, an Air India flight from Poland’s Rzeszow, carrying students evacuated from war-hit Ukrainian city Sumy, landed in Delhi on Friday.
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