Document / Report
June 08, 2024
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In May 2024, the United States imposed new sanctions on three Russian government entities and four Russian companies in response to its full-scale war and use of chemical weapons against Ukraine. The United States determined Russia used the chemical weapon chloropicrin against Ukrainian troops and riot control agents (RCA) as a method of warfare in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Chloropicrin is a choking agent that “causes severe irritation to the skin, eyes, respiratory tract (if inhaled), and gastrointestinal tract (if inhaled or ingested).” In cases of severe exposure, it can be deadly, causing “potentially fatal accumulation of fluid in the lungs.”

Russia’s use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident and is probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and drive them into the line of fire, the exact reason the CWC prohibits the use of RCA as a method of warfare, and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield. Russia retains an undeclared chemical weapons program and has used chemical weapons, such as the Novichok nerve agents, at least twice in recent years in assassination attempts.

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