White House: Russia could use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine
White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned in a series of tweets Wednesday that Russia may be preparing to "use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine," after Moscow claimed the U.S. was housing biological weapons in the country.
What they're saying: Psaki called the claims "preposterous" and noted that Chinese government officials have also echoed Russia's "conspiracy theories."
- "This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine," she added.
- "Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern."
Driving the news: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova alleged Russia had evidence the U.S. is supporting a bioweapons program in Ukraine and that "Ukrainian nationalists” were preparing to use chemical weapons to stage a "provocation" that they would then blame on Russia, per the Guardian.
The big picture: Russia has a long history of using chemical weapons, most notably in Syria by the Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad and in the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
- In 2017, the U.S. accused Russia of staging a "disinformation campaign" to cover up the use of chemical weapons in Syria.