Western officials have warned of “serious concern” that Vladimir Putin may use chemical weapons in Kiev, and say a “completely horrific” attack could be triggered in the Ukrainian capital as Russian forces try to overcome logistical problems that have apparently affected troops heading to Kiev, according to reports. TheGuardian.
A Western official told the British outlet: “I think we have good reason to be concerned about the possible use of unconventional weapons, partly because of what we’ve seen happen in other settings. For example, what we’ve seen in Syria, in part because we’ve seen a little bit of preparation for that in the false flag claims that are coming out, and other indications as well. So it’s a serious concern for us.”
The Biden administration publicly warned on Wednesday that Russia might seek to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.after the White House rejected Russian claims of illegal development of chemical weapons in the country it has invaded.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova this week accused Ukraine of having chemical and biological weapons laboratories on its territory.supported by the US. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki called Russia’s claim “absurd” and said it could be part of Russia’s attempt to lay the groundwork for the use of such weapons of mass destruction against Ukraine.
“This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its new premeditated, unprovoked and unwarranted attack on Ukraine.”, Psaki tweeted on Wednesday. “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has apparently backed this propaganda, We should all be vigilant about the possibility of Russia using chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or creating a false flag operation using them.”
The United States has warned for months about Russian “false flag” operations to create a pretext for invasion. Wednesday’s warning suggested that Russia could try to create a pretext to escalate the two-week conflict that has seen the Russian offensive slowed by stronger-than-expected Ukrainian defenders but not stopped.
The Pentagon Press SecretaryJohn Kirby on Wednesday called the Russian claim “a bunch of nonsense.”
During years, the international community has assessed that Russia has used chemical weapons before to carry out assassination attempts against Putin enemies such as Alexey Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal. Russia also supports the Assad government in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against its people in a decade-long civil war.
Asked about the claims by a Russian journalist, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “At the moment we have no information to confirm these reports or these accusations about these types of labs.”
“Our colleagues from the World Health Organization, who have been working with the Ukrainian governments, said that are not aware of any activity by the Ukrainian government that is inconsistent with its obligations under international treaties, including on chemical weapons or biological weapons,” Dujarric added.
Russia has a long history of spreading disinformation about US biological weapons research. In the 1980s, Russian intelligence spread the conspiracy theory that the United States created HIV in a laboratory. More recently, Russian state media have spread theories about dangerous research in laboratories in Ukraine and Georgia.
The theory of Conspiracy About US-Run Labs In Ukraine Has Been Picked Up By Chinese State-Controlled Media and is now making the rounds on online message boards popular with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and far-right groups in the US.
Filippa Lentzos, Senior Lecturer in Science and International Security at King’s College London, said that there are no “US labs” in Ukraine. Instead, he said in an email, there are labs around the country that have received money through a US Defense Department threat reduction program.
“These are public and animal health facilities owned and operated by Ukraine,” he said.
“The Kremlin is intentionally spreading outright lies that the US and Ukraine are carrying out chemical and biological weapons activities in Ukraine”said the State Department spokesman, NedPrice, it’s a statement.
“Russia is making up false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrible actions in Ukraine.”
Price said “this Russian disinformation is total nonsense” and added that Russia had “a history of accusing the West of the very crimes that Russia itself is perpetrating.”
However, The United States said on Tuesday it was working with Ukraine to prevent invading Russian forces from seizing biological research material in the country.
(With information from AFP and AP)
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