The UK and US are investigating unconfirmed reports that Russia used chemical weapons in its attack on the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.
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The far-right Azov Battalion claimed three soldiers were injured in an attack by a “toxic substance” yesterday, prompting Secretary of State Liz Truss to say officials were “urgently” working to underpin a “callous escalation” if they true would be violence.
The Pentagon called allegations that Moscow had used unconventional weapons “deeply concerning”. Western nations have repeatedly declared that any use of chemical or biological weapons will be met with “decisive action.” BBC reported.
The three Azov troops had shown “clear signs of chemical poisoning.” Kyiv independent reported citing the controversial battalion leader Andriy Biletsky. He added that there appeared to be no “disastrous consequences” for her health.
The accusation “followed a call from Russia’s proxies in Donbass to use chemical weapons against Azov,” the news site added. Azov’s witness claimed the substance was “distributed by a drone” and caused “shortness of breath” in the victims.
In a late night address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not confirm the use of chemical or biological weapons, but said: “We treat this with the utmost seriousness.
“I would like to remind world leaders that the possible use of chemical weapons by the Russian military has already been discussed,” he added. “And even then it was said that we had to react much harder and faster to the Russian aggression.”
Russia has previously claimed without evidence that Ukraine plans to use chemical weapons to repel its invasion. The intervention in late March prompted Joe Biden to warn of a possible one “False flag” attack to justify the use of prohibited weapons.
The US President warned that Putin had his back against the wall, saying the Kremlin’s claims that Ukraine has access to non-conventional weapons are a “clear sign” that he plans to use his own, adding: “He has used chemical weapons in the past.”
British Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said this morning Sky news that “all options are on the table” if it is confirmed that Russia has already used chemical weapons. “The fact that they are part of the discussion is deeply sobering,” he added.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US “will continue to monitor the situation closely,” saying, “These reports, if true, are deeply concerning and reflect our concerns we had about Russia’s potential.” to use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine.”
Following Biden’s warning about the use of chemical weapons, said Andy Weber, Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of defense overseeing nuclear, chemical and biological programs The Telegraph that “despite Putin’s reckless rumble about nuclear weaponsthe use of biological weapons in Ukraine is much more likely.
“The USSR had the largest biological weapons program the world has ever known, and parts of it have continued uninterrupted since the collapse of the Soviet Union,” he said. “Russia has three military-biological facilities that, to our knowledge, have never been visited by non-Russians. We don’t know exactly what they’re up to.”
Russia also cut a lone vote in 2018 when it claimed that a Chemical weapons attack on the Syrian city of Douma was ‘staged’ with the help of the UK.
Activists, rescue workers and medics said more than 40 people were killed after using “various chlorinated organic chemicals”. BBC reported at the time. Assad’s government denied the attack, although Syrian Civil Defense and the Syrian American Medical Society claimed that more than 500 patients with “symptoms suggestive of exposure to a chemical warfare agent” were hospitalized.
Five years earlier “Rockets with the The nerve agent sarin hit the suburb of Ghouta the Syrian capital” in “the deadliest chemical weapons attack since the Iran-Iraq War,” reported The Telegraph. “Between 281 and 1,729 men, women and children died before dawn broke over Damascus,” the newspaper said. Assad’s government again rejected the attack.
Putin wrote at the time The New York Times that “there is every reason to believe [poison gas] was not used by the Syrian army, but by opposition forces”.
Whether the West steps up its response “depends, of course, on how this review process goes,” he said Politically Alex Wickham. “If confirmed, this would be the first known use of chemical weapons by Russia in the Ukraine war,” he added, “and would mark a significant escalation of Moscow’s aggression.”
Armed Forces Secretary Heappey told Sky News that the government would “maintain some ambiguity” about how to respond to a confirmed chemical attack. The broadcaster added that it “signaled” that the response would “vary depending on the severity of usage.”
This echoed Biden’s comments in late March when he told reporters in Brussels that the use of chemical weapons “would elicit a response in kind,” adding, “We would respond if he uses them.” The type of response would depend on the type of use.”
So said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a chemical weapons expert The guard last month that it is unlikely that a non-conventional attack would do so provoke a “kinetics [military] NATO response‘ suggesting that ‘allies are more likely to want to provide Ukraine with more and better weapons and additional intelligence when they can’.
But the ex-commander of the NATO chemical weapons force also warned that the use of “agents intended only for use in warfare” could prompt the alliance “to react militarily as in Syria”.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/russia/956406/evidence-russia-using-chemical-weapons-ukraine Evidence of Russia’s use of chemical weapons in Ukraine