The commander of a Ukrainian unit defending the port city of Mariupol on Tuesday posted a video statement, saying a small number of people had been affected by an “unknown poison” amid reports of a Russian chemical attack.
Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov battalion, said in the statement that it was not possible to fully investigate the scene due to Russian shelling.
“The victims of the release of a toxic substance of unknown origin in the city of Mariupol are in relatively good condition,” said Prokopenko.
“The exposure of civilians to this substance is very small, because [incident] The epicenter was located at a certain distance from the location of civilians. The army was a little closer.
However, it is currently not possible to fully investigate the scene due to enemy fire, as the Russians continue to use their own crime-covering tactics.”
CNN could not independently verify that there was any type of chemical attack or how many casualties were caused by any such incident.
Prokopenko’s post on Telegram shows brief interviews with one soldier and two civilians, including an elderly woman who was affected by the substance, and interviews with two medical staff.
An army anesthesiologist, who asked not to be named, said the victim’s main symptoms were: facial congestion, high blood pressure, dryness and inflammation in the pharynx and mucous membranes of the eyes.
Maksym Zhorin, a co-commander of Azov, called the incident a “brazen crime”, adding, “Many of us didn’t believe they would. But, perhaps out of desperation, they didn’t. could arrest Mariupol for more than a month, they resorted to such heinous crimes and began to use chemical weapons.”
Zhorin said three people experienced severe symptoms. “All the others were in a shelter at the time and weren’t affected that much,” he said.
In a statement on state television, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said authorities were still investigating the incident.
“We are currently checking this information,” she said. “We are trying to find out what was used. Based on preliminary data, there is a hypothesis that this could be a phosphorus bomb. But official information will follow.”
We must understand that there is a very real threat of the use of chemical weapons. “
The Azov Battalion, originating from far-right militias and incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces, was one of the units holding the besieged port city.
Some basic information: In response to the reports, Britain’s junior armed forces minister said “all options are on the table” about how the West would react if Russia used chemical weapons in Ukraine. .
“I think it would be helpful to maintain some ambiguity […] about what exactly the responses will be, but let’s be clear, if they are to be used at all, then [Russian] Chairperson [Vladimir] Putin should know that all possible options are on the table about how the West might react,” James Heappey told Sky News.
According to Human Rights Watch, “white phosphorus can burn a person to the bone, smolder inside the body and re-heat when the bandages are removed.”
Such weapons are prohibited or prohibited by international law in densely populated areas.