US has ‘credible’ info Russia may use chemical agents in Ukraine, says Blinken

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States has “credible information” that Russia “may use… chemical agents” in its offensive to take the besieged Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Tuesday (April 12).

The prime US diplomat stated he was “not in a position to confirm” current allegations that Moscow used chemical weapons in Mariupol, a strategic port on the Sea of Azov.

But he continued: “We had credible information that Russian forces may use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents that would cause stronger symptoms to weaken and incapacitate entrenched Ukrainian fighters and civilians, as part of the aggressive campaign to take Mariupol.”

“We share that information with Ukraine… and we’re in direct conversation with partners to try to determine what actually is happening, so this is a real concern,” Blinken advised reporters.

Reports first emerged on Monday from Ukraine’s Azov battalion {that a} Russian drone had dropped a “poisonous substance” on troops and civilians in Mariupol.

The power claimed folks had been experiencing respiratory failure and neurological issues.

“Three people have clear signs of poisoning by warfare chemicals, but without catastrophic consequences,” battalion chief Andrei Biletsky stated in a video message on Telegram.

He accused the Russians of utilizing the chemical weapons throughout a strike on town’s massive Azovstal metallurgical plant.

AFP has been unable to confirm the claims, which had been shared by Ukrainian lawmakers.

Mariupol has been besieged for weeks and Ukrainian forces are warning of its imminent fall.

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