- Ukrainian politicians and troopers accused Russia on Monday of utilizing chemical weapons in Mariupol.
- The Pentagon stated it was monitoring the stories carefully, however could not verify them but.
- It stated the stories are “reflective” of its prior issues that Russia might use chemical weapons.
The Pentagon is carefully monitoring a number of claims made on Monday that Russia used chemical weapons on the besieged Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol, spokesperson John Kirby stated in an announcement.
“We are aware of social media reports which claim Russian forces deployed a potential chemical munition in Mariupol, Ukraine,” Kirby stated.”We cannot confirm at this time and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
“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,” he stated.
The use of chemical weapons by the Kremlin can be a serious escalation of its invasion of Ukraine, and amp up stress on the US or NATO to take direct motion within the battle.
Earlier on Monday, the founding father of Ukraine’s controversial Azov Regiment, which has been preventing in Mariupol, claimed in a video on Telegram that Russia used chemical weapons on a metal plant the place Ukrainian forces had been dug in. The unit stated three individuals had been poisoned because of the purported chemical assault.
The accusations come as Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson for the Russian-recognized separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, recommended on Russian TV that Moscow ought to deploy “chemical forces” on Ukrainian troops, per The New York Times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to Basurin’s menace in a video tackle, calling his phrases a “preparation for a new stage of terror against Ukraine and our defenders.”
“One of the mouthpieces of the occupiers stated that they could use chemical weapons against the defenders of Mariupol. We take this as seriously as possible,” Zelenskyy stated.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss additionally tweeted on Monday that the UK was working “urgently” to verify particulars on the stories of chemical assaults.
“Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account,” she wrote.
Mariupol, a port metropolis in southern Ukraine reduce off by Moscow-backed separatists and Russian troops, is now the location of one of many warfare’s bloodiest conflicts.
Its mayor, Vadym Boychenko, stated on Monday night that greater than 10,000 civilians have died within the siege up to now, per the Associated Press, although his report has not but been independently verified. As of Monday, The United Nations confirmed 1,842 civilian deaths throughout Ukraine because of the warfare.