Providing Ukraine with supplies if Russia deploys chemical weapons, says US
The West has expressed concerns that Russia could use chemical and biological weapons to continue its war in Ukraine. Last month, the Ukrainian authorities had accused Putin's forces of using phosphorus bombs to target civilians in Luhansk and Donbas.
The United States on Saturday said it will provide Ukraine with supplies and equipment in case Russia deploys chemical or biological weapons on the war-hit country.
“In an effort to assist our Ukrainian partners, the U.S. government is providing the government of Ukraine lifesaving equipment and supplies that could be deployed in the event of Russian use of a chemical or biological weapon,” news agency Reuters quoted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
When asked whether Washington DC would also provide gas masks and other equipment to Ukraine, Psaki said," The shipment of such supplies would not compromise our domestic preparedness in any way."
The White House official's remarks come a week after US President Joe Biden had warned Vladimir Putin against using chemical or biological weapons. "We would respond, we would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use," Biden said at a news conference in Brussels.
Moscow had hit out at Biden's remarks, accusing him of diverting the United States' biological and chemical weapons programmes in countries including Ukraine.
“We see this as an attempt to divert attention to some kind of ephemeral, allegedly existing threat against the backdrop of a scandal that is flaring up in the world involving chemical and biological weapons programmes that the United States has been carrying out in various countries, including Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had said.
Meanwhile, the European Union has also agreed to initiate a stockpiling operation to boost its defences against chemical, biological and nuclear incidents in wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. The supplies include idecontamination equipment, gloves, masks and other material for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence.
Last month, the Ukrainian authorities in Luhansk and Donbas regions had accused Russia of using phosphorus bombs to target civilians.
- Russia Ukraine Crisis