Russia Uses Banned Chemical Weapons Along the Entire Front Line

Russia Uses Banned Chemical Weapons Along the Entire Front Line

Russia is using banned chemical weapons along the entire front line in Ukraine, particularly chloropicrin gas, to weaken Ukrainian soldiers’ ability to defend fortified positions and even force them to retreat. According to The Wall Street Journal, American and Ukrainian officials, as well as doctors, soldiers, and international investigators, state that as Russia intensifies its offensive, it increasingly employs banned chemical weapons on the battlefield.

Earlier this month, the United States announced sanctions against Russian companies and government agencies involved in the development and supply of chemical weapons used at the front, with a particular emphasis on chloropicrin. This chemical, sometimes used in pesticide production, was first deployed during World War I and is banned for warfare under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Russia has signed.

Chemical weapons expert and Royal United Services Institute in London researcher Dan Kaszeta explains that chloropicrin is toxic to humans and animals and acts as an irritant. Depending on the exposure level, the gas can burn skin, irritate tear ducts, and make breathing difficult, not to mention provide defense against attackers. This chemical has been replaced by more modern substances, sometimes used by police as tear gas, known as CN and CS, which are also banned under the convention, according to Kaszeta.

Captain Dmytro Serhiyenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian Army’s support forces analytical center, which analyzes the use of chemical weapons at the front, claims that the Russians use all three of these substances on the battlefield. While his group mainly records the use of CN and CS in the monitored area, they also found two grenades with chloropicrin in abandoned Russian positions, writes The Wall Street Journal.

Ukrainians have been monitoring the use of chemical weapons at the front since February 2023, and the number of confirmed incidents continues to rise. As of May 3, support forces have confirmed 1,891 such attacks since monitoring began, including 444 in April alone, which is 71 more confirmed incidents than the previous month. These figures are an incomplete picture, as the intensity of the fighting often prevents access to the sites where the gas was used to collect samples or interview soldiers, notes the WSJ.

Military medic Lieutenant Vitaliy Katrych, working at a stabilization point near the front, reported that there were cases where every other patient he treated had been exposed to poisonous gas. According to him, once the Russians receive a shipment, they use it continuously until it runs out.

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