There is a possibility that Russia will use chemical or biological weapons against Ukraine – and the White House has said that “we should all keep a close eye on this”.
Jen Psaki, the White House’s press secretary, said Russia’s claims about American biological and chemical weapons labs, and the development of chemical weapons in Ukraine, are preposterous.
According to her, the false claims are just a way to justify more premeditated, unprovoked attacks to try and justify her actions.
It follows a similar concern expressed by officials in Western countries about the possibility of further attacks.
According to them, they were “very concerned” about the possibility of escalation in the war, and especially the possibility of the use of non-conventional weapons by Russia.
Most likely, this refers to chemical weapons, though the term is also used to describe tactical nuclear weapons (small scale), biological weapons, and dirty bombs.
Western officials said that the company has good reason to be concerned.
The reason this had happened, they said, was partly due to the fact that Russia has been involved in other places where chemical weapons have been used by its allies – notably Syria.
In her interview with reporters, Psaki said that “we should all be on the lookout for a possible use of chemical or biological weapons by Russia in Ukraine, or a false flag operation of this kind – it’s a pattern we are seeing.”.
As a result of the defence ministry’s tweet earlier on Wednesday, we have learned that the Russians had used thermobaric rockets in Ukraine. This type of rocket is also called a vacuum bomb due to the fact that it draws oxygen from the surrounding air to produce a powerful explosion at high temperatures.
Due to their size, they are more dangerous and devastating than conventional explosives of the same size, and have the potential to cause great harm to people caught in the blast zone.
Western officials said that they began to worry about chemical weapons use when Russian claims were made, because they could pave the way for some kind of “false flag” attack.
In a tweet, the Russian Embassy referred to some claims that “recently discovered documents” indicated that biological weapons components were made in Ukrainian laboratories with funding from the Department of Defense of the United States.
The Russian government dismissed the claims, calling it a “form of disinformation campaign” similar to other operations the Russians have conducted in the Ukraine and other countries over the years.
The Russian media and government officials have also claimed in the recent days that Ukraine is planning to build a so-called dirty bomb that disperses radioactive materials.
We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) March 9, 2022
According to Russia’s foreign minister, Ukraine sought nuclear weapons at one time or another.
Some believe that Moscow is making these claims so it can use them as a way to explain to its own citizens why it intruded on Ukraine. The Western officials have also expressed concerns that these events may be the basis for a “false flag” attack.
Russian officials could claim, for example, that any non-conventional weapons that are dispersed were coming from Ukrainian facilities or troops, or that they were first used by Ukraine. It is possible, then, that Moscow would be justified in using non-conventional weapons in its response.
Apparently, according to the Western official, similar claims had come from Russia before their use in Syria.
In addition, they said there were “other indications as well” – this could be in the form of intelligence of some kind. “It is something that we are very concerned about.”
It is no secret that Russia’s ally, the Assad government, has used chemical weapons in Syria on numerous occasions against civilians.
As well as using nerve agents in attempted assassinations against opposition figures, like Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 and Alexei Navalny in Russia in 2020, Russia has been accused of using nerve agents as a chemical weapon.
An international agency that supervises the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), defines a chemical weapon as a chemical used to cause intentional death or harm using its toxic properties.
Due to the fact that their effects are indiscriminate by nature and made to cause unnecessary suffering and injuries by nature, their use is prohibited under international humanitarian law regardless of a valid military target.