Ukrainian troops fighting in Mariupol have assured that they were attacked with chemical weapons by the Russians, in what is the first concrete denunciation of the use of these weapons in the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, has also warned of the possible use of chemical weapons in a message released on Tuesday.
The United States and the United Kingdom are investigating what happened, while the pro-Russian Donetsk militias, fighting in Mariupol, deny using chemical weapons.
Complaint of the Azov Battalion
The denunciation of the alleged use of chemical weapons comes from the founder of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi military unit integrated into the Ukrainian Army. Andrei Biletsky has assured in a message from Telegram in the early hours of this Tuesday that the Russian troops have used a chemical in Mariupol and that three people have been injured.
In his message, Biletsky assures that Russia has used a poisonous substance of unknown origin which was dropped from a drone over the Azovstal industrial plant in Mariupol.
For his part, President Zelenski has assured that a Russian spokesman has declared that they could use chemical weapons against Mariúpol. “The use of chemical weapons by the Russian army has already been discussed with world leaders – Zelensky said – That moment means it was necessary to react to Russian aggression much stronger and faster“.
For its part, the pro-Russian separatist militia in Donetsk He denies using chemical weapons to storm the industrial plant. “The forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic did not use any chemical weapons in Mariupol,” said militia spokesman Eduard Basurin.
The United Kingdom and the USA try to verify the information of the alleged attack
The British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, has reported that they are already studying whether the Russians have used chemical weapons in Mariupol. “We are urgently working with our partners to verify the details. Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.”
“There are some things that are beyond what is acceptable. The use of chemical weapons will have an answer and all options are on the table as to what that answer will be“, he declared for his part james heappeyMinister of the Armed Forces, to Sky News.
For its part, the US Department of Defense has ensured that the Pentagon is closely following the informationalthough he has pointed out that they cannot confirm it yet.
“We are aware of reports on social media that chemical weapons have potentially been used in Mariupol,” US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said in a brief statement. “At this time we cannot confirm and we will closely monitor the situation,” added Kirby, who pointed out that, if confirmed, it would be something “deeply worrying”.
These reports “would reflect concerns we have had about Russia’s potential use of a variety of protest control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents.”
Almost 2,000 civilians have been killed and more than 4.5 million have fled the country, according to the UN, since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24.