The Russian Defense Ministry accused on Tuesday the US of preparing a provocation with chemical substances in Ukraine.
Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow, head of the Russian Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Forces (NBCP) Igor Kirillov claimed that a shipment of chemical substances arrived in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine on Feb.10, accompanied by a group of foreign citizens.
The shipment of 16 sealed metal boxes, eight of which had a chemical hazard sign — the inscription BZ and two red lines — designating an incapacitating class of chemical weapon agents under the international signal system, Kirillov said.
Five other boxes had CS-Riot and three CR-Riot inscriptions, all marked with a single red line, which alerts about tear gas or lachrymatory agent under the international classification, he added.
According to Kirillov, the shipment was placed on US-made armored vehicles, which moved as part of the column to the line of contact.
He added that another shipment, which arrived in Kramatorsk on Feb.19, delivered shrapnel with special labeling, warning it was previously completed with damaging elements, containing liquid irritants.
Meanwhile, NATO announced the delivery of 55,000 sets of personal protective equipment and gas masks, as well as 13,000 individual chemical packages, which primarily contain antidotes to nerve agents, he said.
“The facts of the simultaneous supply of toxic chemicals and means of protection against them indicate an attempt to carry out large-scale provocations using the combat psychotropic toxic substance BZ during the conflict,” Kirillov stressed.
He emphasized that BZ is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), as it provokes acute psychosis, loss of orientation, hallucinations, and memory disorders.
“BZ substance is a service poison of the US Army and was widely used during the Vietnam War. The US and its allies have repeatedly used ammunition loaded with the chemical substance during military conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” he claimed.
Kirillov said the US stated the complete destruction of BZ stocks in 1990, however, the samples were preserved and there are capacities for the production of up to dozens of tons per year in pharmaceutical facilities.
He recalled that chemical weapons were a pretext for US military activities in 2003 — a vial with a substance that was claimed to be a chemical weapon and used to start an invasion of Iraq — but later it turned out that Iraq did not possess them.
“The implementation by the US of its obligations under the CWC has clearly selective character. Any limitations under the treaty, contradicting American interests, are being ignored at the direct neglection of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he said.
As an example, Kirillov cited legalizing a number of chemical substances as means of waging war in the US, using a wide range of ammunition.
Kirillov said units of the NBCP forces are working in the war zone, and the Defense Ministry labs are capable of defining both the kind of the used agent and the country where it was manufactured.
He mentioned in this regard that thermic ammunition was used by the Ukrainian army, components of which were produced in the Czech Republic.
He also slammed “incriminating” remarks by former US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, who accused Russia of plans to use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
“We warn that in case of provocations using toxic chemicals, the true culprits will be identified and punished. We will continue to work to expose the criminal activities of the West in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he stressed.
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