War in Ukraine | UK verifies claims of chemical attack in Mariupol

(LONDON) The United Kingdom is trying to verify information on the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russian forces in Mariupol, a strategic port city that has been under siege for more than a month, the British Minister for Foreign Affairs announced on Monday. foreign.

Posted yesterday at 10:13 p.m.

“Reports indicate that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the population of Mariupol. We are urgently working with our partners to verify the information, ”said Liz Truss on her Twitter account.

Any use of such weapons “would constitute a brutal escalation in this conflict and we will hold (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his regime to account”, she added.

Ukrainian parliamentarian Ivanna Klympush for her part indicated that Russia used an “unknown substance” in Mariupol, where several people suffer from respiratory failure according to her. “Most likely chemical weapons,” she tweeted.

Previously, the Ukrainian Azov regiment, entrenched in Mariupol, had claimed that a Russian drone had dropped a “toxic substance” on soldiers and civilians in Mariupol, in a message published on Telegram on Monday, specifying that several people there suffered from respiratory problems. and neurological.

According to Andrii Biletsky, the founder of the Azov battalion, three people were poisoned there by an unknown toxic substance, he said in a video posted on Telegram: “Three people show clear signs of poisoning by chemical warfare products but without catastrophic consequences”.

AFP was not immediately able to independently verify these claims.

No confirmation

Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, pointed out on Telegram that “information about the chemical attack is not currently confirmed”, indicating that “details and clarifications” will be given later and that “we are waiting for official information from the military”.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said late Monday that Washington was aware of reports of a chemical attack in the strategic city, but could not confirm them.

“This information, if true, is very concerning and reflects the concerns we have had about the possibility of Russia using various riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine,” a- he declared.

The representative of the separatist army in Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, quoted Monday by the Russian agency Ria Novosti, affirmed for his part that the troops which besiege Mariupol could resort to “chemical troops which will find a way to bring out the moles out of their hole”, in reference to the entrenched Ukrainian soldiers.

Russia has denied committing war crimes during its offensive in Ukraine, launched on February 24.

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