Ukraine accuses Russia of using chemical weapons

The Public Relations Service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine accused Russia on Feb. 9 of using chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict, with a staggering total of 815 recorded attacks since the commencement of the large-scale war.

The report highlights the use of munitions equipped with poisonous chemical substances, particularly grenades such as the K-51, RGR, and RG-Vo, which contain the dangerous chemical compound CS. To gather evidence, Ukrainian radiation, chemical and bacteriological intelligence units have been carrying out sampling of soil, vegetation, and mmunition fragments, which are then sent for analysis. Documented cases of the use of dangerous chemicals are being submitted to investigative bodies as part of open criminal proceedings.

At a press briefing Jan. 20, Col. Oleksandr Shtupun, the spokesperson of the Defense Forces of the Tavria Region, reported that Russia continues to violate the customs of warfare by employing munitions containing poisonous substances. Col. Shtupun said that five such incidents occurred the previous day, likely involving K-51 grenades with chloropicrin. Each case is being investigated individually, with appropriate analyses being conducted, and the results being submitted to international institutions. Ukrainian soldiers have been protecting themselves from such agents using gas masks.

In response to these serious allegations, the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands released a statement vehemently denying the use of chemical weapons. The embassy asserted that international investigations have confirmed the absence of chemical weapons in the Russian army’s stockpiles.

The use of chemical and biological weapons in war is strictly prohibited by international agreements. The 1925 Geneva Protocol bans chemical and biological weapons in warfare. Further, Russia has since 1997 been a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical arms.

From Jurist, Feb. 11. Used with permission.

Note: The International Criminal Court has an open investigation into war crimes claims against Russia. Claims of chemical weapons use were especially raised during the siege of Mariupol in 2022.

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