War on Ukraine: reports of poison gas attack in Mariupol

Status: 04/12/2022 04:57

In the escalating battle for the port city of Mariupol, there are reports of a poison gas attack. Ukrainian President Selenskyj previously warned against Russian use of chemical weapons. The West reacts with concern.

Shortly after a Russian threat to use chemical weapons in Mariupol, the Ukrainian Azov Regiment reported an alleged poison gas attack. An unknown substance had been dropped from a drone over the long-disputed city, Azov announced in the evening on his Telegram channel. However, Ukrainian state television channel Suspilne reported that there was no confirmation from official bodies.

True, military sources considered the probability of a chemical weapons attack by the Russian side to be “very high”. The broadcaster tries to get confirmation from the army or the secret services. According to information from Azov, those affected suffered from breathing difficulties and movement disorders.

Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, also pointed out on Telegram that “information about the attack with chemical weapons is currently not confirmed”. “Details and clarifications” were provided later. He is waiting for “official information from the military”.

conflicting parties as a source

In the current situation, the information on the course of the war, the shelling and the victims provided by the official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian parties to the conflict cannot be verified directly by an independent body.

Pro-Russian separatists raise chemical weapons

According to Western military experts, the situation in Mariupol is getting worse. Russian forces pushed back the Ukrainian defenders. The Ukrainians entrenched themselves in the Azovstal steelworks, among other places. Military spokesman for the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Eduard Bassurin, said capturing the underground fortifications at the plant site would be too costly. It is therefore necessary to rely on chemically armed troops.

War against Ukraine: summary of the current situation in Mariupol

Sabine Krebs, ARD Warsaw, today’s news at 8 p.m., April 11, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed this threat in his nightly video address. “We take this very seriously.” A possible chemical weapons attack should be a reason for foreign states to react even harsher to Russian aggression, Zelenskyj said. Russia has not itself used chemical weapons in the Syrian war, but has covered up and denied the alleged dropping of bombs containing poison gas by the Syrian government.

West warns Moscow against using chemical weapons

Western nations have warned Moscow of grave consequences if it uses chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the war that began nearly seven weeks ago. After the Mariupol reports, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote on Twitter that they were working with partners to verify details. Any use of such weapons would be an escalation for which Russian President Vladimir Putin and his leaders would be held responsible.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense said there was no confirmation of the use of chemical weapons. If the reports are correct, that would be very worrying. This is consistent with fears that Russia could use chemical means, such as tear gas mixed with other chemicals, to suppress large crowds in Ukraine, spokesman John Kirby said.

Mayor: Already more than 10,000 civilians dead in Mariupol

According to the mayor, more than 10,000 civilians have already been killed in the city of Mariupol, besieged by Russian troops for more than a month. Vadym Boichenko gave the number in a phone call to the AP news agency on Monday. The streets of the city are still covered with bodies, he said. So there could also be more than 20,000 dead. Last Wednesday, Boitschenko put the death toll in his city at more than 5,000. His statements could not be independently verified.

In white: advance of the Russian army. In green: separatist zones supported by Russia. Crimea: annexed by Russia.

Image: ISW/04/10/2022

Mariupol has seen some of Russia’s most brutal attacks in Ukraine. Boichenko said Russian soldiers had brought mobile crematoria with them, which they would use to dispose of corpses. The mayor accused the Russians of blocking humanitarian corridors in the port city to cover up the massacre of civilians in Mariupol.

Meanwhile, the head of the separatist government in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, claimed that the Ukrainian government had lost control of the port of Mariupol. The port is now under separatist control, Puschilin told Russian state television, Russian news agencies reported. The statement could not be confirmed at first. Boichenko said fighting continued in the port.

Zelenskyj: We don’t have the weapons to liberate Mariupol

According to Zelenskyy, Ukraine does not have the heavy weapons to liberate Mariupol. “If we had planes and enough heavy armored vehicles and artillery, we could do it,” he said in his video speech.

He is confident that Ukraine will eventually get the weapons it needs. “But not only time is lost, but also the lives of Ukrainians.” Those who did not deliver the weapons now were responsible.

Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zalushny confirmed on Monday that the link with the defenders of Mariupol had not been severed. He was responding to claims by marines deployed there that there had been no contact with Ukrainian military leaders for two weeks.

Kharkiv residents warned of cluster mines

Meanwhile, attacks continue elsewhere in the country: according to the local governor, at least eight civilians have been killed by Russian artillery fire in the Kharkov region. Authorities also warned people about landmines that had been dropped on the northeastern city. On Monday, security forces cordoned off an area east of Kharkiv to clear a number of small explosive devices scattered across residential streets.

The head of Ukraine’s demining unit, Lt. Col. Nikolai Ovcharuk, said the mines were PTM-1M plastic timers and were widely used by Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Cluster munitions such as the PTM-1M mines are banned under the Ottawa Landmine Convention due to the danger they pose to civilians. Reuters could not independently confirm which mines were in Kharkiv.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, the Russian army used chemical warfare weapons

Marius Reichert, WDR, April 12, 2022 05:37

Leave a Comment