On April 11, Russia carried out a chemical attack on Mariupol, but this is not the first such crime by Russians since the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The attack on Mariupol was preceded by a statement by the press secretary of the so-called DNR army, Eduard Basurin, who suggested using gas to “poison” Ukrainian forces from the city.
According to preliminary data, the Russians dumped an unknown substance (approximately sarin) from an UAV at the Azovstal plant, which is held by Ukrainian defenders. At least three people were injured. This was the first “direct use” of chemical weapons by Russians in Ukraine.
However, since the full-scale invasion, the Russians have committed “chemical crimes.” The first such attack was the shelling of a chemical plant in Sumy (Sumykhimprom) in northern Ukraine, which specializes in the production of mineral fertilizers.
As a result of the shelling, there was a leak of ammonia – a colorless gas with a sharp suffocating odor. The gas is toxic and explosive. The affected area was 5 km, and the city’s residents were saved by the wind, which drove the gas away from Sumy.
On April 5, the Russian military fired on the territory of the Zarya chemical plant in the town of Rubizhne (Luhansk region). Nitric acid tank was damaged during the shelling.
Nitric acid is dangerous if inhaled, swallowed and in contact with skin and mucous membranes. When contacted can cause loss of sight. Already on April 9, the Russians again hit the tanks with nitrogen during the shelling.
At the same time, there is reason to believe that the number of chemical attacks by the Russians will increase, because they changed the commander of the offensive. General Oleksandr Dvornikov became the new person in charge of the “special operation”.
He previously led Russian troops in Syria, which have actively used chemical weapons against enemies of Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-friendly regime. Since 2015, when Russia actively joined the war in Syria, there have been about 300 other chemical attacks using chlorine.
Chlorine burns the skin, mucous membranes and causes spasm of the upper respiratory tract, leading to painful death. Cities bombed indiscriminately, destroying infrastructure and civilians.
Although Russia has not acknowledged its involvement in the attacks, it has tried to block UN investigations in this area and has repeatedly vetoed condemning resolutions.
It is worth noting that in March, US President Joe Biden said that if Russia used chemical weapons, NATO’s response would be immediate. It seems that the time for instant action has come.