President Biden stated on Monday that Russia had been planning to use chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine and threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin of severe western response if his attacks were to push through.
He said that Putin’s “back is against the wall and now he’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up including, asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe, simply not true.”
Biden warned that such an attack would prompt a “severe” reaction from the US and Western allies but did not say what specific responses these were. He went on to say that Putin did know about these severe consequences as the Russian president was well-aware of the united NATO front.
This increased concern with Russia’s usage of chemical weapons in Ukraine comes after heightened propaganda from the Kremlin and its government officials. Russia had been accusing the United States of supplying Ukraine with biological weapons. It can be remembered that Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, raised allegations that biological weapons and labs were present in Ukraine and that there was evidence to prove “direct funding and supervision of the Pentagon.”
Just last week, US officials warned that Russia might be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons as the Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of planning a false-flag chemical weapon attack as justification for its own use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.
Biden’s statement echoes various government officials’ stances regarding Russia’s alleged plans to use chemical and biological weapons, which had been used against Putin’s political rival Alexey Navalny. Russia was also heavily invested in protecting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against rebels during the Syrian civil war, where nerve agents and chlorine gas were widely used.
Cheney: Chemical Weapons Should Be The “Red Line”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo), during her appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press, stated that the US and NATO should consider the usage of chemical weapons as a “red line” if the Russians were to utilize it in their invasion of Ukraine.
“The use of chemical weapons, is that a red line in your mind for whether NATO should at least intervene to protect civilians in some form in Ukraine?” asked host Chuck Todd. “I think that it should be Chuck,” Cheney replied. “I think we in the West, United States, and NATO, we need to stop telling the Russians what we won’t do. We need to be very clear that we are considering all options, and the use of chemical weapons is certainly something that would alter our calculation,” the representative said.
She also said that “if the brutality here increases, the United States will contemplate and consider every possible range of actions along with our NATO allies,” stating that the Russian military was not as strong and capable as Putin thought it was. It was also important to her that Putin did not receive any gains or benefits from the invasion, especially territorial gains.
This echoes the statement of Polish President Andrzej Duda, who said that chemical weapons were a “game-changer” if Russia were to use them.
“If he uses any weapons of mass destruction, then this will be a game-changer in the whole thing,” he said. “For sure, the North Atlantic Alliance and its leaders led by the United States will have to sit at the table, and they will really have to think seriously [about] what to do because then it starts to be dangerous.”
Previously in Syria, the Obama administration declared that the use of chemical weapons would also be a “Red Line” as well with unspecified severe consequences if they were employed. Russia and Syrian dictator Assad called that bluff and used them anyway killing 1,000 civilians near Damascus in 2013. President Obama did not follow through on the threat to use military force and instead relied on Russian promises to remove those weapons from Syria. This was not done and Assad used chemical weapons again in 2017, prompting President Trump to strike Syria twice in retaliation without Russia escalating the conflict.
Thomas-Greenfield: “We will respond aggressively.”
In response to Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya stating that there were US-sponsored chemical and biological weapons programs in Ukraine, US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “I will say this once: ‘Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program.” and went on to say that “It is Russia that has long maintained a biological weapon program in violation of international law.”
While the US does support Ukraine’s biological laboratories, these are not for weapons development but rather to help Ukraine strengthen its public health organizations by learning more about dangerous diseases and viruses and how to thwart them.
"We've been clear, if they escalate to this level, we will respond aggressively to what they are doing." @USAmbUN tells @jaketapper the US is prepared for Russia to engage in a false flag effort to justify use of chemical weapons in Ukraine. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/SLbWM3Ll9m
— CNN (@CNN) March 20, 2022
Thomas-Greenfield also said to Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she was very concerned about Russia using chemical weapons against Ukrainians and vowed an aggressive response if they were to be discovered using said weapons. “We are concerned that they may use chemical weapons in Ukraine. We’ve been clear if they escalate to this level, we will respond aggressively to what they’re doing,”
US Department of State Ned Price also released a statement regarding these allegations last March 9, which read:
“The United States does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine, it is in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention, and it does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere. It is Russia that has active chemical and biological weapons programs and is in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention.”
Furthermore, various western officials have stated that Russia has had a track record of accusing its enemies of crimes that they themselves were guilty of to try and justify their “premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attacks on Ukraine.”
Austin: There would be a “significant reaction.”
Last Sunday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also echoed statements from his fellow US officials, stating that there would be a “significant reaction” from the United States and its allies if Russia decides to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons.
“I think if a chemical or biological weapon was used, you would see- as- a significant reaction from not only the United States but also the global community,” he said. “But I think this is a very serious step. And as you heard our president say, we won’t take that likely.”
Austin further claimed that they have seen Russia raise and create issues in the past so that they may have a pretext to do something in combat. This escalation from Russia is seen by many as a method for them to possibly regain momentum in its invasion of Ukraine. They have been seen to be losing thousands of soldiers to what was once seen as an outgunned and outnumbered Ukraine.
“They’re not being effective today in terms of their maneuver forces on the ground are essentially stalled. It’s had the effect of him moving his forces into a wood chipper,” the Defense Secretary said.
“You know, the Ukrainians have continued to attrit his forces, and they’ve been very effective, using the equipment that we provided them, you know, and armor weapons and aircraft weapons. And again, significant resolve on the part of the Ukrainian people.”