White House warns Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, rejects false ‘conspiracy’ of US biolabs

Psaki said the United States was in “full compliance” with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, which bar countries from developing or possessing such weapons.

She said Russia has long “maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law” and cited its military intervention in Syria in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime and its suspected poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny in 2020 with a Novichok-like nerve agent.

“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 operation using them. It’s a clear pattern, ”she added.

Psaki made the comments after Russian officials accused the United States of developing such weapons in Ukraine.

Igor Konashenkov, the chief spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, said it was “obvious that in the wake of the special military operation, the Pentagon started having serious concerns about secret biological experiments uncovered on Ukrainian territory.”

Dmitry Chumakov, a Russian deputy United Nations ambassador, urged Western media on Wednesday to cover “the news about secret biological laboratories in Ukraine,” the Associated Press reported.

Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also told reporters Wednesday that Russia had concluded that “in Ukrainian laboratories close to our borders, components of biological weapons were being developed.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Who recently voted against a House resolution supporting Ukraine, amplified Russia’s claims Wednesday on Twittersaying he had not taken “the concern over Ukrainian biological labs seriously… until now.”

On Thursday, Britain’s armed forces minister, James Heappey, told the BBC that if Russian President Vladimir Putin did seek to use chemical weapons, he should expect an “international response.” Heappey did not say whether he meant from NATO or individual countries.

The British minister said he had read “very high-level intelligence” last week about the possibility of Russia using chemical weapons and praised the United States for making public its intelligence on the issue as a deterrent to Moscow.

“President Putin needs to be clear that the use of chemical weapons is just the most despicable thing that anybody can imagine,” Heappey said.

“I do not think it’s helpful to get into any firm commitment right now about where that red line sits. But I think President Putin needs to be very clear that when other countries have used chemical weapons, it has caused an international response, ”he added.

Grace Moon contributed to this report.

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