By Michael Nicholas
United Nations (Reuters) – Russia, the United States and Britain on Tuesday traded allegations at the United Nations over the possibility of chemical weapons attacks in Ukraine, but presented no evidence to substantiate their concerns.
After Russia raised the issue of ammonia leaks in the besieged northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumi, the UN blamed “radical Ukrainian nationalist groups”. During the Security Council’s closed-door meeting, diplomats spoke to reporters. The United States and the United Kingdom have denied the allegations.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said Russian troops had “never planned or carried out attacks against Ukrainian facilities that store or produce toxic substances.”
“It is clear that Ukrainian nationalist authorities, encouraged by the West, will not stop intimidating their own people and launching bogus attacks to blame Russia,” Polyanskiy said.
This is the third time that Russia has raised the issue of chemical or biological weapons on February 24 in a so-called “special military operation” to militarize Ukraine. The West and Ukraine say this is an excuse to invade a democratic country.
“Looking at his performance against Alexei Navalny in the UK and Russia, considering what we’ve seen in Syria – it is difficult to conclude that this could be a precursor to the Russians creating some kind of pseudo-chemical weapons attack.” British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward told reporters.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield dismissed Russia’s allegations as “ridiculous.”
“Our concern is that this is a precursor to Russia’s plans to use chemical weapons,” he said.
The United States has not shown any signs of an immediate Russian chemical or biological weapons attack on Ukraine, but a senior U.S. security official said Tuesday that it was closely monitoring the situation.
(Report by Michelle Nichols)
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