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Russia using chemical choking agents in Ukraine, US says

Legend, Ukrainian troops participate in exercises on chemical weapons risks

The United States has accused Russia of deploying chemical weapons as a “method of warfare” in Ukraine, in violation of international laws prohibiting their use.

State Department officials said Russia used the suppressant chloropicrin to achieve “battlefield gains” against Ukraine.

These allegations, which US officials say do not constitute an “isolated” incident, would contravene the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), signed by Russia.

A Kremlin spokesperson rejected the accusations, calling them “baseless.”

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Dmitry Peskov said Russia was meeting its obligations under the CWC, which prohibits states from developing or acquiring new weapons. Some 193 states have ratified the convention.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a global watchdog that oversees the implementation of the CWC, says that a chemical weapon is a substance used to intentionally cause death or harm through its toxic properties.

Chloropicrin – which the US claims Russia used to “dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions” – is an oily substance widely used during World War I. It causes irritation to the lungs, eyes and skin and can cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The use of this chemical in wartime is expressly prohibited by the CWC and is listed as a choking agent by the OPCW.

The State Department also said Moscow regularly used “riot control agents,” or tear gas, during the war.

President Joe Biden has already warned Russia against deploying chemical weapons in Ukraine. In March 2022, just weeks after launching the invasion of Moscow, Mr. Biden promised that President Vladimir Putin would pay a “severe price” if he authorized the use of chemical weapons.

“We would respond if he used it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Mr. Biden said.

But consistent reports indicate that Moscow ignored this warning. US Assistant Secretary for Arms Control Mallory Stewart previously said Russia was using riot control agents in the conflict.

And Ukraine says its troops have faced increasing chemical attacks in recent months. The Reuters news agency reported earlier this year that Russian forces used grenades loaded with CS and CN tear gas.

The report added that at least 500 Ukrainian soldiers were treated for exposure to toxic gas and one died after being asphyxiated by tear gas.

Three Russian agencies linked to the country’s biological and chemical weapons program have been sanctioned by the State Department for their ties to the production of chemical agents. Other companies that contributed to government entities were also sanctioned.

In 2017, the OPCW said Russia had destroyed the last of its Cold War-era weapons stockpiles, as required by the CWC.

But Moscow has since been accused of making incomplete declarations about its stockpiles, according to the UK’s House of Commons library.

Since 2017, Russia has been accused of at least two chemical attacks: the Salisbury attack on a former Soviet intelligence officer and the 2020 poisoning of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The allegations are part of a broader series of US sanctions targeting 30 people, including three people authorities say were involved in Mr Navalny’s death.

The men are all officials at the Siberian penal colony where the opposition activist was killed earlier this year. Russia denies any involvement in the death of the opposition leader.

Meanwhile, Russian forces in eastern Ukraine continued their steady advance ahead of Victory Day celebrations on May 9, a holiday commemorating the Soviet victory in World War II.

Much of the fighting is taking place around Chasiv Yar, a kyiv-controlled stronghold that Russia is trying to reach after seizing the town of Avdiivka. Moscow is believed to want to seize the city before next week’s celebrations.

This comes as President Volodymyr Zelensky fired the head of the Security Service of Ukraine’s (SBU) cybersecurity department, Illya Vityuk, amid allegations he tried to use his position to punish a Ukrainian journalist who had reports allegations of corruption against him.

The journalist was then summoned to a military recruitment center, prompting military chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi to open an investigation.

Separately, Human Rights Watch – a non-governmental organization – called for a war crimes investigation after uncovering evidence that Russian forces executed more than a dozen surrendering Ukrainian soldiers. The events would have occurred between December 2023 and February 2024, the organization said in a press release.

News Source :
Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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