Russian 'chemical weapon' dropped on Mariupol causing respiratory problems, Ukraine claims
Russia has 'crossed all boundaries of humanity'
The UK government is "working urgently" to ascertain whether Russian forces have used chemical weapons in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol with claims that soldiers have been left feeling dizzy and unable to breathe.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss tweeted late on Monday to say that if chemical agents have been used it will amount to a "callous escalation in this conflict" and Vladimir Putin and his regime will be held to account.
Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details.
Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) April 11, 2022
Reports from Ukraine's Azov regiment detail how soldiers were left feeling dizzy and unable to breathe after a “poisonous substance of unknown origin” was dropped on them from a Russian drone.
In a post on Twitter on Monday, Ukrainian MP Ivanna Klympush shared news of the "unknown substance" in Mariupol, claiming victims were experiencing "respiratory failure". She added: "Most likely [chemical] weapons!"
Ukraine's President Vlodomyr Zelesnkyy has yet to confirm the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine but earlier advised his citizens that the Russian Ministry of Defence had threatened to use them.
Mariupol is one of many regions to report numerous atrocities since the invasion began on February 24, but the port city is the first to allege chemical weapons being dropped on its civilian population.
Anton Gerashenko, the adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Russia has "cross[ed] all boundaries of humanity and openly declares it".
Chemical weapons are used against Ukrainian defenders in #Mariupol! russia openly crosses all boundaries of humanity and openly declares it, while Ukraine is still asking for heavy weapon #UkraineUnderAttack
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) April 11, 2022
Speaking to Sky News' Kay Burley on Tuesday morning, the UK's armed forces minister James Heappey said: “These are appalling weapons to think about using. If they are used, people will be held to account.
“It’s useful to maintain some ambiguity over exactly what the response would be but let’s be clear, if they are used at all, then President Putin should know that all possible options are on the table in terms of how the West might respond."
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) April 12, 2022
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