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Russia says US ‘preparing provocations’ to accuse Moscow of using chemical, biological or tactical nuclear weapons

A file photo of US airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing putting on their M50 gas masks during a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence survival skills class at RAF Mildenhall in England (US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra West)

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Saturday that after seeing the success of its 'special military operation' in Ukraine, the United States is preparing provocations with the aim of accusing the Russian forces of using chemical, biological or tactical nuclear weapons.

In a briefing on the 'US and NATO preparations', the head of the Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said that a plan has "already been developed" by Washington.

"Only in March-April of this year, high-ranking officials of Western countries make provocative 'warning' statements on a regular basis. These are thrown into the media about the possibility of Russia using weapons of mass destruction," said Kirillov.

He highlighted US President Joe Biden's statement about "appropriately" responding to the possible use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) – chemical, biological or nuclear – by Russia and also US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressing similar concerns of Russia creating a 'false flag' operation.

"Against this background, the US Department of State positively considered the transfer to Ukraine of up to 400,000 sets of personal protective equipment, 390 NBC reconnaissance devices and 15 STRIKER reconnaissance vehicles, previously approved by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Jenkins," Kirillov told media on Saturday.  

Accusing the US of implementing such projects "more than once" in the past "to achieve political goals", the Russian General said that three scenarios have been "prepared" to accuse Moscow.

The first, and the most likely one he said, is a "staging incident under a false flag".

"Such a scenario is planned to be implemented at chemical and biological facilities in Kharkov and Kyiv. A provocation is not ruled out at nuclear power facilities, primarily at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant," he said.

The second, said Kirillov, is "maximum covert use of weapons of mass destruction in small volumes to suppress the will and ability to resist in the framework of solving a specific operational task" – a scenario which he said "was considered" at Mariupol's Azovstal.

The third, and the most least likely scenario according to the top Russian defence official, was an "overt use of weapons of mass destruction on the battlefield in the event that conventional weapons fail to succeed", most likely in a war zone.

Such a scenario, he said, is being considered for Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, which have been "turned into fortress" cities.

Russia said that the staging of the use of WMDs is aimed at accusing Moscow of using prohibited weapons, followed by the implementation of the so-called "Syrian scenario", in which the state is subjected to economic and political isolation, as well as exclusion from international organizations, including the UN Security Council.

"I would like to recall that the Russian Federation completely destroyed its chemical arsenal on September 27, 2017, which is confirmed by the OPCW certificate. In turn, the United States, having a powerful financial, economic and technical potential, is the only country party to the Chemical Weapons Convention that still possesses an impressive arsenal of chemical warfare agents (672.5 tons)," said Kirillov.

He warned that the Kiev regime "at the suggestion of the American administration" is able to implement such scenarios in the near future that "will lead to the death of tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens and cause an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe".

Meanwhile, Washington has once again reiterated its "unwavering commitment" to supporting the government and people of Ukraine.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Friday to discuss the security, economic, and humanitarian assistance the United States is providing, including the new support announced by Biden.

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