All Signs Point to Putin Using Chemical Weapons – Following reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be considering instructing his armed forces to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden said this week that he believes Russia’s claims that Ukraine has U.S.-operated chemical weapons depots is a “clear sign” he is looking to use them himself.
Speaking on Monday, the president said that Vladimir Putin’s back is against the wall and that he’s looking to set up false flags to justify the use of chemical or biological weapons.
“He’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up, including asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe,” President Biden said. “Simply not true. I guarantee you.”
Biden also referenced Putin’s claims that Ukraine has both chemical and biological weapons, which is a “clear sign he’s considering using both of those.”
Would Putin Do It?
In his Monday remarks, the president said that Vladimir Putin “knows there will be severe consequences” to using chemical and biological weapons from a “united NATO front.”
Nonetheless, many analysts and government officials believe that Putin is likely to do it anyway.
Referencing the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former Russian military intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the British intelligence service in the 1990s, former Pentagon official Andrew C. Weber said that Russia using chemical weapons would not be surprising.
“The Skripal case was the smoking gun,” Weber, an Obama-era Pentagon official said. “Russia used chemical weapons in peacetime in a foreign country. The thought that they might now use chemical weapons in Ukraine is entirely rational.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki echoed similar concerns, writing on Twitter that Russia has a “track record of accusing the West of the very violations that Russia itself is perpetrating.”
“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operating using them,” Psaki said.
What Weapons Could the Russians Use?
Chemical weapons are kind of munition that carry lethal chemical substances that kill people who aren’t directly impacted by a blast.
Some chemical weapons are choking agents, which attack the respiratory system and cause victims to drown. Blister agents blind people and cause burns. Nerve agents are the most lethal, blocking the brain’s ability to send messages throughout the body.
Biological weapons work in a similar way but use bacteria, viruses, fungi, and insects to inflict pain, suffering, and death.
Russia is understood to have a large stockpile of chemical weapons, including Soman, Sarin, Mustard, Lewisite, and Phosgene – among others.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.