U.S. and U.K. Are Closely Monitoring Reports of Russia’s Use of Chemical Weapons in Mariupol

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The Pentagon and British Ministry of Defence are closely monitoring reports that the Russian military used a chemical agent in the besieged port of Mariupol.

Actually, General Aleksandr Dvornikov, Russia’s military commander in Syria, crossed Barack Obama’s “red line” regarding the use of chemical arms multiple times when he was leading Russia’s military operation. Also being investigated are his targeting of civilian hospitals, Red Crescent workers, and ambulance drivers as well as the indiscriminate bombings on apartment buildings and residential areas in Syria.

Putin is the right kind of general to put an end to the fighting in Mariupol.

John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, cannot confirm the attacks.

CNBC: Kirby stated Monday that he was aware of reports on social media claiming that Russian forces may have deployed a chemical weapon in Mariupol (Ukraine). “We are unable to confirm the information at this time, but will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Kirby stated that these reports, if true are deeply concerning. They reflect concerns we have about Russia’s potential use of a variety of riot control agents in Ukraine, including tear gas and chemical agents.

Liz Truss, British Foreign Secretary, also stated that her government was working “urgently”, to confirm details of an alleged attack.

This story has all the usual caveats. Unconfirmed and widespread stories on social networks do not prove anything to be true.

This is particularly true because some of the initial reports come from the Azov Regiment, a unit within the Ukrainian army that has been accused of harboring undemocratic sympathies (neo-Nazis).

It is still alarming to see General Dvornikov ascend to the rank of commander of Russian forces. He’s not the “Butcher in Syria”. It should concern us that he was at the UN’s confirmation of the use of chlorine gas in Syria.

In fact, reports of chemical weapons in Ukraine began to leak out just hours after he assumed command.

Coincidence?

Propagandists could be profiting from Dvornikov’s reputation for killing in Syria by spreading false stories about a chemical attack. It could be true.

It would be a worrying escalation of events in Ukraine, and it would bring NATO and Russia closer to open war.