Biden warns of ‘high price’ if Putin’s forces use chemical weapons as US and Russia accuse each other of planning false flag attacks
The United Nations – President Biden warned on Friday that Russia would pay a ““if he uses chemical weapons, as both sides have blamed plans for false flag operations amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia had hastily convened a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday morning to discuss in open debate what it called “the military biological activities of the United States into the territory of Ukraine” – which led the Biden administration to immediately denounce it as a “false flag effort”.
“This is exactly the kind of false flag effort that we warned Russia might launch to justify a biological or chemical weapons attack,” said Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the United Nations, at CBS News.
Friday’s meeting was announced by Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyansky in a tweet linked to the Russian Defense Ministry, claiming an analysis of documents on US “biological military activities” in Ukraine, with a half a dozen attached documents with graphs and tables.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told members of the Security Council on Friday that Russia had requested the council meeting “for the sole purpose of lying and spreading disinformation”.
“I will say it once: Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program, and there are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the United States. Neither near the borders of Russia, nor anywhere,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
His comments came as the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that Ukrainian groups under the control of “representatives of US special services have prepared several potential scenarios for the use of toxic chemicals in order to carry out various types of provocations”, in the purpose of accusing Russia of using chemical weapons against civilians.
The so-called “scenarios” could include “a diversion” at a Ukrainian industrial chemical site “involving the destruction of large-volume containers containing industrial chemicals,” read a statement posted on the ministry’s website on Friday. Another scenario involves destroying containers with toxic chemicals in “highly populated areas”, he said.
Washington hadthat Russia could escalate violence in its war in Ukraine by using biological or chemical weapons, or by claiming that Ukrainian forces used them as a pretext.
“Russia has a well-documented history of using chemical weapons and has a long history of maintaining a biological weapons program in violation of international law,” Dalton told CBS News. “Russia also has a reputation for falsely accusing the West of the very abuses that Russia itself is committing.”
At the UN meeting on Friday, members of the Security Council overwhelmingly denied Russia’s allegations.
UK Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward called the Russian allegations ‘utterly absurd’ and said that ‘Russia today presented the Security Council with a series of savage conspiracy theories, totally baseless and irresponsible”.
Others more generally warned against the use of prohibited weapons.
Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) “has received credible information that Russian forces are using slot weapons ammunition, including in populated areas”.
“Indiscriminate attacks, including those using cluster munitions, which are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction, are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” DiCarlo said.
The UN High Representative for Disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, spoke of the “worrying issue of safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine”, and she noted that safe operating procedures “would not be implemented” in Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya – the two Ukrainian factories that the Russian government has occupied.
Albanian Ambassador Ferit Hoxha added to the chorus of nations who fear “allegations about weapons of mass destruction could serve as yet another pretext for Russia” in its invasion of Ukraine.
Eyes were on Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun after Thomas-Greenfield said China “spread misinformation to support Russia’s outrageous claims”.
The Chinese envoy stressed the need for a “political settlement”, but also stressed the importance of banning the development and use of all weapons of mass destruction, including including biological and chemical weapons, finally clarifying his position: “The concerns raised by Russia must be properly addressed.”
After the meeting, speaking to reporters, Thomas-Greenfield said: “We believe the world is witnessing a war of Russian aggression, and no matter how hard Russia tries, it cannot change that. That’s what today showed, and it continues to show, that Russia is the aggressor here, no one else.