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Russian troops increasingly deploy chemical weapons against Ukrainian Armed Forces - ISW

Russian troops increasingly deploy chemical weapons against Ukrainian Armed Forces - ISW Photo: The Russian military is increasingly using chemical weapons against the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Wikipedia)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Russian troops are increasing the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which the Russian Federation is a party, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Institute cites a briefing by Andrii Rudyk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Centre for Research of Trophy and Advanced Weapons and Military Equipment of the General Staff of Ukraine, on January 25.

During the briefing, the captain said that in December 2023, Russian troops began using RG-VO grenades with chloroacetophenone, which is a type of tear gas used to combat mass riots. According to Rudyk, since then, Ukrainian officials have recorded 81 cases of Russian troops using RG-VO grenades.

ISW recalled that earlier the General Staff of Ukraine reported that Russian troops had used a new type of special grenade containing CS gas (2-Chlorobenzalmononitrile, also a chemical weapon) since December 14. He added that in the first two weeks of January, Russian troops used chemical weapons at least 51 times.

"The Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade previously acknowledged on December 22 that the brigade deliberately uses chemical weapons by dropping K-51 grenades with CS gas from drones onto Ukrainian positions near Krynky in the east (left) bank of Kherson region," the report said.

Rudyk said that RG-VO grenades could kill personnel in a dugout or enclosed space within five minutes. According to him, the study showed that the recently used Russian RG-VO grenade was manufactured at an unidentified, but probably Russian factory in 2023.

In his opinion, Russia is probably trying to gauge the international reaction to the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine to expand the type of weapons used by Russian troops.

ISW reminded that Russia is a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The document prohibits the use of chemical weapons as a method of warfare.

Use of chemical weapons by Russian Federation against Ukraine

The Ukrainian military reported an increase in the use of chemical munitions by Russian invaders. Up to 10 cases of chemical use are recorded daily.

The military has already recorded 626 cases of Russia's use of ammunition equipped with toxic chemicals. Of these, 51 cases were recorded in January of this year alone.

Officials in the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden have warned of the risk of Russia using chemical weapons in Ukraine. The White House is concerned that the Russians will take such a desperate step in the event of new failures at the front.