Written by Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia, the United States and Britain accused each other at the United Nations on Tuesday of a possible chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, but neither provided evidence to support their concerns.
The diplomats made the remarks to reporters after Russia raised the issue of an ammonia leak in the besieged Ukrainian city of Sumy in the country’s northeast, blaming “Ukrainian extremist nationalist groups”, during a Security Council meeting at ONU. The United Kingdom and Washington rejected the accusation.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, said that Russian soldiers “did not plan or carry out attacks on any Ukrainian facility where toxic substances are stored or produced.”
“It is clear that the Ukrainian nationalist authorities, encouraged by Western countries, will stop at nothing to intimidate their own people and launch attacks to accuse Russia,” Polyansky said.
This is the third time that Russia has raised the issue of biological or chemical weapons since it launched on February 24 what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine. The West and Kiev reject it as a false excuse to invade a democratic state.
“It’s hard not to jump to the conclusion – given his record in the UK, in Russia against Alexei Navalny, given what we saw in Syria – that this could be a prelude to the Russians themselves launching some kind of attack.” False flag, British Ambassador to the United Nations Barbara Woodward told reporters.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, dismissed Russia’s accusations as “ridiculous”.
“Our concern is that this is a precursor to Russia’s plans to use chemical weapons,” he said.
A US defense official said, on Tuesday, that the United States has not yet seen any concrete indications of an imminent Russian attack with chemical or biological weapons on Ukraine, but stressed that the information is being closely monitored. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing in Spanish by Javier Lira)
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