The Horrors of Chemical Warfare

If history does indeed repeat itself, the Ukrainian people may, unfortunately, one day have to face the horrors of a chemical attack.

The United States charged that the Soviet Union had killed more than 3,000 people in Afghanistan with chemical weaponry. According to State Department sources, the evidence came from defectors, refugees, victims, and doctors who treated them. The lethal agents used in Afghanistan included nerve agents, phosgene or phosgene oxide, and mustard gas.

Hundreds of people were killed in the Ghouta chemical attacks on 21 August 2013 during the Syrian Civil War.  Citizens, many of them children, twitched uncontrollably and gasped for air as helicopters broadcast cylinders of chorine gas over the region.

No one took direct responsibility for the massacre. Still, it was widely blamed on President Bashar Assad for carrying out the carnage under the protection of his chief ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This heartbreaking, image provided by Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated, shows bodies of victims of a nerve gas attack on Ghouta, Syria. Photo shared from

Putin’s History of Carrying Out Assassinations With Chemical Agents

In 2020, Alexei Navalny, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned with a chemical similar to Novichok, a deadly nerve agent implicated in other attacks on Russians who have crossed the current regime. A German military laboratory found “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in biological samples taken from Navalny, who survived the assassination attempt but barely.

Without rapid medical intervention, those exposed to the poison lose control of muscles that control breathing and blood pressure, ultimately resulting in death.

Novichok agents came under strong public scrutiny in 2018 after one was used in an assassination attempt against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom. The attack made Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and four others seriously ill. Skirpal and his daughter survived, but one of the bystanders died.

The Red Arsenal

Some of the agents that could be unleashed on the Ukrainian people. Graphic Credit:

A Brief History of Killing With Gas

Every war brings forth a new, signature way of killing and maiming combatants.