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Bacteriological Weapons (Sverdlovsk Incident)

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 16 April 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the implications for the United Kingdom of the recent incident at Sverdlovsk in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in which large numbers of civilians died after coming into contact with an agent banned under the convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction, signed in London, Moscow and Washington on 10 April 1972.

The Soviet Union has said that there was a natural outbreak of anthrax at Sverdlovsk a year ago. Some features of the reports remain puzzling and the Government support the United States' efforts to obtain further clarification. We shall then assess our own position in consultation with our Allies.