Biden warns Russia would pay ‘severe price’ for using chemical weapons in Ukraine

Joe Biden has warned that Russia would pay a “severe price” if it used chemical weapons during its war on Ukraine, although he declined to specify the nature of any US response.

US officials have said in recent days that Russia might resort to the use of chemical weapons after first setting up a pretext by deploying them in a “false flag” operation and blaming it on Ukraine.

The US president was asked on Friday by a reporter if the US would respond militarily to the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, but Biden did not say whether America’s reaction would be of a military or economic nature.

“I’m not going to talk about intelligence. But Russia would pay a severe price if they use chemical weapons, ”he said.

Biden has repeatedly said that the US would not be drawn into a direct conflict with Russia over Ukraine, ruling out sending American troops to defend the country, or enforcing a no-fly zone with US pilots and fighter jets.

But it is unclear if that calculation might change should Russia’s tactics become even more brutal, such as through the use of weapons of mass destruction.

During a press briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the US position that it would not become directly engaged in war with Russia had not shifted.

“We are conveying to all of you what the capacity and capabilities of Russia are, what steps they have taken in the past [with chemical weapons]. Let’s hope we are not having a discussion about that, ”Psaki said.

“But the President and our Nato partners have not changed their assessment about their plans to send US troops in,” she added.

A senior US defense official said on Friday that the “Russians have had, and we assess that they still have, a sophisticated chemical and biological weapons program”.

But the official declined to provide details about any potential Russian plans to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, saying he would not discuss US intelligence assessments.

However, the official said the administration had decided to talk about the issue publicly after Russia claimed without evidence that the US had helped Ukraine develop a biological and chemical weapons program.

“We’re talking about it because they are lying about it,” the official added.

Biden’s comments came as Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian representative to the UN, accused the US and Ukraine of hatching a plot to spread biological weapons and “dangerous pathogens” throughout Europe with birds, bats and insects.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, rebuffed the claim, which was made during a session of the UN Security Council on Friday.

“The intent behind these lies seems clear and it is deeply troubling,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “We believe Russia could use chemical or biological agents for assassinations as part of a false flag incident or to support tactical military operations.”

“Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program. There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the US – not near Russia’s border or anywhere, “Thomas-Greenfield added.

She said Ukraine had its own public health laboratories that were used to detect and diagnose diseases such as Covid-19.

“The US has assisted Ukraine to do this safely and securely. This is work that has been done proudly, clearly, and out in the open, ”Thomas-Greenfield said.

Source link