The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Monday, said that Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine & called on the West to impose strict sanctions against Moscow that would deter even talk of the use of such weapons.
On Monday, there were unconfirmed reports making suggestions that chemical weapons were used in the besieged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
In a statement released via video address, Zelenskyy said, “We treat this with the utmost seriousness.” He did not mention chemical weapons had already been used.
“I would like to make a reminder to global leaders that the possible use of chemical weapons by the Russian forces has already been discussed. At the same time, it meant that it was required to react to the Russian aggression much harsher & faster.”
Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the Mariupol’s mayor, mentioned reports about a chemical attack had not been confirmed and that he expected to provide information and clarifications later.
As per Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, “The United States was aware of the reports.”
Kirby added, “We cannot confirm at this time and will continue to check up on the situation closely. If true, these reports are deeply concerning and reflective of concerns that we are having about Russia’s potential to use a variety of riot control agents, along with tear gas mixed with chemical agents, in Ukraine.”
The Russian invasion, which has claimed thousands of lives and forced millions to flee the nation, has shifted from Kyiv to the eastern region of Ukraine, with a massive offensive expected there. On Monday, the European Union said that more sanctions on Russia are an option.
At the same time, Zelenskyy said, “It’s time to make this package in such a way that we would not hear even words about weapons of mass destruction from the Russian side. An oil embargo against Russia must be considered. Any new set of sanctions against Russia that does not affect oil will be received in Russia with a smile.”