Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The United States accuses Russia of violating the ban on chemical weapons in Ukraine


Ukrainian soldiers outside Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine in November 2023. The US and Ukraine accuse Russia of using illegal chemical weapons in Ukraine. Photo: AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/01/2024 23:43:59

According to the Americans, Russia has used the chloropicrin gas, which causes people to suffocate, and also chemicals for riot control as “methods of war” in Ukraine.

– The use of such chemicals are not isolated incidents and are probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to expel Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical progress on the battlefield, says a statement from the US State Department.

Chlorpicrin is listed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as a prohibited asphyxiation gas. German forces used the gas against the Allies during World War I, at the time one of the world’s first uses of chemical weapons.

At least 500 Ukrainian soldiers are said to have received treatment after being exposed to toxic substances, and one died after being suffocated by tear gas, according to the Ukrainians.

While protesters who are exposed to tear gas can leave the scene and break up, soldiers stuck in trenches without gas masks are forced to either flee while they may be fired upon by the enemy or risk suffocation.

The US claims that Russia’s use of gas is “taken from the same textbook as the poisoning operations” against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in 2020, and against double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018.

The two were poisoned with the nerve agent Novitsjok. Russia denies having anything to do with any of the cases.

The CWC prohibits the production and use of chemical weapons and requires the 193 countries that have ratified it, including Russia and the United States, to destroy their stockpiles of banned chemicals.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other in OPCW meetings of violating the convention, but the organization says it has not been formally asked to open an investigation into the possible use of banned chemicals in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian defense claimed to Reuters that Russia has stepped up its illegal use of so-called riot control agents. In addition to chlorpicrin, Russian forces have used tear gas grenades, according to Ukraine.

The OPCW was established to implement and monitor compliance with the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).


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