Pentagon tracking reports of possible Russian chemical weapons attack in Mariupol

Pentagon monitoring reports of possible Russian chemical weapons attack in Mariupol

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Armoured automobiles of pro-Russian soldiers drive along a street throughout Ukraine-Russia dispute in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 31,2022

Alexander Ermochenko|Reuters

WASHINGTON– Defense Department press secretary John Kirby stated the Pentagon was carefully keeping track of reports Monday night of a possible Russian chemical weapons attack on the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

If Russia were discovered to have actually utilized chemical weapons in the tactical holdout city, it would represent a significant escalation of the dispute and provide a direct obstacle to NATO to act.

“We are aware of social media reports which claim Russian forces deployed a potential chemical munition in Mariupol, Ukraine,” Kirby statedMonday “We cannot confirm at this time and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

“These reports, if true, are deeply concerning and reflective of concerns that we have had about Russia’s potential to use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine,” stated Kirby.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss likewise stated her federal government was working “urgently” to validate information a supposed attack.

The initial report remained in the type of a Telegram message published by the Azov Regiment, an ultra-nationalist part of the Ukrainian NationalGuard The Azov message stated Russian forces utilized “a poisonous substance of unknown origin.”

“Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict, and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.” Truss composed on Twitter.

U.S. authorities have actually been alerting for a number of days that the Russian army will likely continue to devote what they call “atrocities” as it doubles down on attacks in the eastern areas of Ukraine.

“Russian leaders have shown in the past … the brutality with which they conduct and prosecute their operations,” Kirby informed press reporters previously in the day Monday, mentioning Russia’s declared usage of chemical weapons throughout the Syrian civil war as an example.

This is breaking news. Please examine back for updates.