Western officials have warned of their ‘serious concern’ that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use chemical weapons in Ukraine to commit further atrocities during the invasion.
The officials claim that an ‘utterly horrific’ attack could be launched on the capital of Kyiv to revive the Russian war effort amid logistical issues, mechanical failures, and a lack of fuel for their armoured vehicles.
In a briefing with journalists, one Western official who spoke on on condition of anonymity said: ‘I think we’ve got good reason to be concerned about possible use of non-conventional weapons, partly because of what we’ve seen has happened in other theatres.
‘As I’ve mentioned before, for example, what we’ve seen in Syria, partly because we’ve seen a bit of setting the scene for that in the false flag claims that are coming out, and other indications as well.
‘So it’s a serious concern for us.’
UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the UK has already handed Kyiv 3,615 anti-tank weapons, known as NLAWs, or new light-antitank weapons.
He said a ‘small consignment’ of Javelin anti-tank missiles will follow, while ministers consider whether to send Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles.
But a Polish proposal to hand its MiG-29 fighter jets to a US military base in Germany, with the expectation they would be handed to Ukrainian pilots, was dismissed in Washington.
The warnings came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a Russian missile attack had landed a ‘direct strike’ on a maternity hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol.
The hospital was decimated, with women and children feared trapped underground in what Zelensky described as ‘an atrocity’.
Ukraine’s Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called it a ‘petrifying war crime’, as he pleaded for allies to supply Ukraine with aircraft.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there are ‘few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless, while Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described the hospital attack as ‘absolutely abhorrent’, but continued to reject Ukraine’s request for a no-fly zone to be imposed over its skies.