US Department of State: Russian army uses chemical weapons in Ukraine

The United States accused Russia of violating the international chemical weapons ban. The Russian troops are deploying chloropicrin (the choking agent) against Ukrainian forces and using riot control agents “as a method of warfare” in Ukraine, according to the US Department of State.

US officials emphasized that Russian forces’ desire to drive Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield is likely the driving force behind this incident.

Chloropicrin is listed as a banned choking agent by the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was created to implement and monitor compliance with the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the Ukrainian military said Russian invading troops have stepped up their illegal use of riot control agents as it presses its biggest advances in eastern Ukraine in more than two years.

In addition to chloropicrin, Russian forces have used grenades loaded with CS and CN gases, the Ukrainian military says. The Ukrainian military reports that at least 500 soldiers have received treatment for toxic substance exposure, and one soldier lost their life due to suffocation from tear gas.

The State Department said it was delivering to Congress its determination that Russia’s use of chloropicrin against Ukrainian troops violated the CWC.

Moscow’s use of the gas “comes from the same playbook as its operations to poison” the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny in 2020 and Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018 with the Novichok nerve agent, the statement said.

Russia denied involvement in both cases.

The US Stated Department also determined that Russia has breached the CWC’s prohibition on the use of riot control agents as a method of warfare, the statement said.

It said it was sanctioning three Russian state entities linked to Moscow’s chemical and biological weapons programs, including a specialized military unit that facilitated the use of chloropicrin against Ukrainian armed forces.

Sanctions also applied to four Russian companies that support the three entities, it said.

Separately, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on three entities and two individuals involved in purchasing items for Russian military institutes involved in the country’s chemical and biological weapons programs.

The imposition of additional sanctions is a fully justified step on the part of the US authorities. The Ukrainian army, forced to confront a new challenge: the use of chemical weapons, may also require increased assistance.

Read all articles by Insight News Media on Google News, subscribe and follow.
Scroll to Top