Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, believes that Russia has deployed chemical weapons in Mariupol. There are reports that Ukrainians were targeted with a toxic agent that was released from a drone. Truss has said that President Putin will be held to account for this violent attack on innocent civilians.
A report that is yet not verified indicated that a poisonous substance of unknown origin was released in the southern port city of Azov. It caused breathing issues, respiratory failure, and what has been described as “vestibule-atactic syndrome.”
Truss has indicated that her government is working “urgently” to verify the details of the alleged chemical weapons attack on the residents of Mariupol.
A spokesperson from the Pentagon revealed that the reports were not confirmed, but the United States has deep concerns about Russia’s potential to use different riot control agents against the people of Ukraine.
John Kirby, the Defense Department press secretary, said that the Pentagon was going to monitor the reports and if it is found that Russia used chemical weapons it would indicate a significant escalation of the war and it would be a “direct challenge to NATO members.
Kirby said, “We are aware of social media reports which claim Russian forces deployed a potential chemical munition in Mariupol, Ukraine. We cannot confirm at this time and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
He continued, “These reports, if true, are deeply concerning and reflective of concerns that we have had about Russia’s potential to use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine.”
The first report of this war crime came in the form of a telegram message posted by the Azov Regiment. They are an ultra-nationalist section of the Ukrainian National Guard. They communicated that Russian forces used some poisonous substance that had an unknown origin.
This report comes at a time when the United States has been warning that the Russian army will continue to commit various “atrocities” as they attempt to completely take over the eastern regions of Ukraine.
Kirby said that Russian leaders have shown “brutality” in the past in their military operations. And he talked to the media about Russia’s use of chemical weapons in other wars like the Syrian civil war.
The United Kingdom Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said that Russia’s use of chemical weapons would get a response from those opposed to Russia and that all options would be on the table for what that response would be.
President Volodymyr Zelensky confessed that he believed Russia would deploy chemical weapons, but he did not say for sure that they had been used in Mariupol.
One of the reasons this unconfirmed report is believable is that the strange attack came just hours after a pro-Russian general in Donbas promoted the idea of using chemical weapons. He told state media that the army would “smoke the Ukrainian moles out of the underground.”
The Ukrainian Parliament sent a message on Twitter saying that it has received reports of Russian forces using nitric acid in the Donetsk region. They warned residents in the area to wear protective face masks that were soaked in a soda solution.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense sent a warning to the people that Russia could use deadly phosphorus bombs in their effort to break the resistance in Mariupol. These bombs burn violently and cause terrible injuries. The use of these bombs constitutes war crimes.
If Russia can capture Mariupol which is the main Ukrainian eastern port city, it would enable Moscow to link together troops coming from the east with those Russian troops from Crimea in the south.
The 36th marine brigade of the Ukrainian army reported that this would surround them and it would be their last battle due to running out of ammunition. The Kremlin would hold the entire coast along the Sea of Azov and most of the Black Sea.
If these reports of chemical weapons are true, it may change the level of involvement from the West.