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Russia Denies US Allegations That It Is Using Chemical Weapons In Ukraine

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The US has accused Russia of using chemical weapons in Ukraine, a charge that Moscow has denied. A statement by the US State Department on Wednesday accused Russia of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention. This is an international treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons in the use of war.

“The use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident, and is probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield,” the US State Department said in a statement.

It added that “pursuant to the (Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act) CBW Act, the Department is re-imposing restrictions on foreign military financing, U.S. Government lines of credit, and export licenses for defense articles and national security-sensitive items going to Russia.

The Department is also sanctioning three Russian government entities associated with Russia’s chemical and biological weapons programs and four Russian companies that have contributed to such entities.”   

Russia has denied the US claims, saying the accusations were “unfounded” and “unsubstantiated.” In a post on Telegram, Russia’s ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, called the US charges “absolutely odious and unsubstantiated.” He said that through such claims, “the United States is trying to intimidate our partners, including China, to block the channels of normal foreign trade cooperation. It is once again targeting Russian high-tech, transportation, and energy companies, meaning to “knock out” competitors from the markets.”

Ukraine’s military officials have denied Russia’s claims. According to an NYT report, Kyiv reported about 1,400 cases of suspected chemical weapons use on the battlefield by Russia since the full-scale invasion began in February 2022. They claim that the rate and use of these weapons has accelerated, as Moscow presses ahead with attacks along the front line.

The US has also announced fresh sanctions on Chinese entities, which it says is aimed at crippling Russia’s war capabilities. Washington targeted nearly 300 entities in China and other countries accused of supporting President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

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“The almost 300 targets being sanctioned by both Treasury and the Department of State include sanctions on dozens of actors that have enabled Russia to acquire desperately needed technology and equipment from abroad,” the Treasury Department said in a statement. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also believed to have delivered a warning to Beijing on this during his China trip.

China has stated that the US charges are “groundless accusations” and says it has the right to have “normal trade ties” with all countries including Russia.

Meanwhile, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee that she believed that Russia’s war against Ukraine would continue.

“Putin’s increasingly aggressive tactics against Ukraine, such as strikes on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure, are intended to impress Ukraine that continuing to fight will only increase the damage to Ukraine and offer no plausible path to victory,” she said.

“These aggressive tactics are likely to continue and the war is unlikely to end anytime soon,” Haines added.

(With inputs from agencies)