On Monday night, Ukrainian parliamentarian Ivanna Klympush claimed that Russia had most likely used chemical weapons for the first time in Ukraine, referring to the Azov battalion.
However, this has not been confirmed by independent sources, and on Tuesday the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Hanna Maliar, said that the damage from the attack may have a different explanation.
According to Maliar, it is possible that phosphorus ammunition – which causes terrible burns, but which is not classified as chemical weapons – has been used.
– Has difficulty breathing
Arne Broch Brantsæter, chief physician and acting manager at the CBRNE center at Oslo University Hospital, believes that most chemical weapons are designed to take lives.
Ivanna Klympusj, chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Integration in the EU, twittert Monday night about the Russian attack.
1/2 #RU 1.5hr ago used unknown substance in #Mariupol. Victims experience respiratory failure,
vestib.-atactic syndrome.Most likely chem.weapons! This is red line beyond which 🌎 must destroy economy of despotism.We demand full embargo on all fuels from #RU & heavy weapons 2UA now!
– Ivanna Klympush (@IKlympush) April 11, 2022
She writes that the attack took place around 10 pm local time. According to Klympusj, residents of Mariupol had difficulty breathing. She further writes that it «most likely are chemical weapons».
The claim has not been confirmed, but the attack is being investigated by several countries.
Different types of chemical weapons
If Russia used chemical weapons, we are now entering a new phase of the war.
Chemical weapons are a common term for weapons that contain toxic chemicals, which cause death or injury to people.
Arne Broch Brantsæter, chief physician and acting manager at the CBRNE center at Oslo University Hospital, works with poison, infection and injuries as a result of chemical substances.
He explains that chemical weapons are chemical substances that damage the body in various ways.
– There are different categories of chemical weapons. This includes, among other things, skin and nerve warfare agents, Brantsæter explains.
– Nerve contraceptives can lead to breathing problems, drop in blood pressure and cramps. Skin repellents can cause painful blisters on the skin and damage the lungs and airways.
Russian nerve gases
The superior points out that it has not been proven that Russia has the chemical substances to produce such weapons.
– It is uncertain whether Russia has chemical weapons that are suitable for warfare, but there is little doubt that Russia has used nerve agent against opposition on several occasions.
According to the Norwegian Medicines Agency, symptoms of poisoning of nerve gases can be confusion, insomnia, headaches and cramps.
Brantsæter also points out that the use of chemical weapons can often have far more serious consequences.
– The danger of using chemical weapons will depend on the dose you are exposed to, but most of these are manufactured with life in mind., he says, adding:
– It’s not a good way to die.
Inserting a «chemical strength»
Lars Haga, associate professor at Luftkrigsskolen, says it is difficult to know for sure what kind of chemical weapons the Russians can possess.
– There has been talk that the Russians will deploy a part of their military called “chemical forces”. They have operated with chemical weapons, as well as protection against such weapons, says Haga, who among other things researches Russian air weapons and the military.
However, this does not mean that it is a given that the Russians will use chemical weapons, Haga emphasizes.
– The force also controls something called thermobaric rocket launchers. The rockets are particularly suitable for the destruction of trenches, bunker and tunnel systems. The United States has used airstrikes with the same behavior against the Taliban, for example, Haga said.
And it is precisely the trenches and tunnel systems that the Russians will encounter, now that they are concentrating more on eastern parts of Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor Party) said on Tuesday that the allegations that Russian forces have used chemical weapons in Ukraine are cause for concern.
– The reports that Russian forces have used chemical weapons in Ukraine are very worrying. These messages must be examined and verified before we draw any final conclusions, says Huitfeldt to TV 2.
– Any use of chemical and biological weapons is prohibited, and something Norway strongly condemns. We have also been clear about this in the Security Council.