U.S. Warns Russia May Use Chemical Or Biological Weapons In Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Russia that they will receive “severe sanctions” if chemical weapons are used in the war.

Zelensky also denied Moscow’s accusation that Ukraine is preparing to attack with chemical or biological weapons.

The accusation from Russia has caused Western allies to fear that Moscow could go further and carry out a chemical attack, potentially under the cover of a “false flag” operation.

In his nightly address to the nation on Thursday, Zelensky said: “That worries me very much because we have often been convinced that if you want to know Russia’s plans, they are what Russia accuses others of.”

He said Ukrainian labs continue to be engaged in “ordinary science, not military”. The World Health Organisation has since asked Ukraine to destroy “disease-causing pathogens” housed in the country’s labs to prevent “potential spills” as the war continues.

Zelensky continued: "We are decent people. I am the president of a decent country, a decent nation, and the father of two children.

"And no chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction were developed on my land. The whole world knows that.

"You [Russia] know that, and if you do something like that against us, you will get the most severe sanctions response."

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet today at Russia’s request to discuss what Moscow claims are “the military biological activities of the U.S. on the territory of Ukraine,” allegations vehemently denied by Ukraine's leader and the Biden administration.

The request from Russia follows the US rejecting Russian accusations that Ukraine is running chemical and biological labs with U.S. support.

“This is exactly the kind of false flag effort we have warned Russia might initiate to justify a biological or chemical weapons attack," Olivia Dalton, spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said late on Thursday.

“We’re not going to let Russia gaslight the world or use the U.N. Security Council as a venue for promoting their disinformation.“

Speaking today, Chris Philp, the UK technology minister, warned that Putin would face a “dramatic increased response” from the West if he crosses the “line” of using chemical weapons in Ukraine.

Philp's Conservative colleague Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Vladimir Putin of a “cynical” attempt to manufacture a pretext for using chemical weapons in Ukraine.

Johnson told Sky News: “The stuff which you are hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of the Russian playbook.

“They start saying that there are chemical weapons that are being stored by their opponents or by the Americans, so that when they themselves deploy chemical weapons – as I fear they may – they have a sort of a maskirovka, a fake story, ready to go.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby slammed the Russian claim as “a bunch of malarkey.”

He added: “It’s classic Russian propaganda and if I were you I wouldn’t give it a drop of ink worth paying attention to.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki slammed Russia’s claims as “preposterous” and tweeted: “This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”

She added: “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern.”

Russia is currently the most sanctioned country in the world, with sanctions against Moscow doubling since the invasion began.

More than 300 companies have stopped doing business in Russia following the invasion, but some significant brands continue to operate in the country.

The UK has also sanctioned oligarchs, including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.

For more information on Russian sanctions, check outThe Independent’s full list.

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