NewsRussian military accused of reviving WWI-era chemical warfare in Ukraine

Russian military accused of reviving WWI‑era chemical warfare in Ukraine

Russians use banned chemical weapons. They drop them from drones.
Russians use banned chemical weapons. They drop them from drones.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 Anadolu

10:56 AM EDT, April 7, 2024

The Russian military is increasingly resorting to banned weapons in its confrontation with Ukrainian forces. Among these are tear gas grenades and even substances that hark back to World War I, such as hydrogen cyanide and chloropicrin.

According to the Ukrainian military, the Russians have executed 626 chemical attacks on Ukrainian positions - a figure reported by "The Telegraph." Yet, this British publication suggests the actual figure might be higher. It appears that the use of banned substances like tear gas is becoming a routine strategy for the Russians on the Ukrainian front.

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"The Telegraph" notes that tear gas doesn't necessarily lead to fatalities. Its primary effect is to sow panic and incapacitate soldiers, rendering them unable to fight for extended periods. After deploying tear gas, Russian forces typically launch an assault, capitalizing on the temporary defenselessness of the Ukrainian forces.

"The Telegraph" has communicated with soldiers engaged near Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region and Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region. They unanimously report daily occurrences of such attacks.

Hydrogen Cyanide and Chloropicrin

An American nurse serving with the Ukrainian military provided "The Telegraph" journalists with a K-51 gas grenade, commonly filled with tear gas, for examination. Marc-Michael Blum, a chemical weapons expert and ex-leader of the laboratory at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, validated its composition.

The Russian forces are also allegedly using other forbidden chemical weapons. One report tells of a Russian drone releasing two missiles filled with an unidentified gas, described as having an "almond-like aroma," over troops in the Donetsk region. This incident, presumably involving hydrogen cyanide, resulted in two fatalities and twelve hospitalizations.

Reports have surfaced as well about the deployment of chloropicrin - a chemical originally used as a pesticide and wielded by the Germans as a chemical weapon in World War I.

The inadequate provision and quality of protective gear available to Ukrainian soldiers compounds the issue of Russian chemical weapon usage.


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