Congressman Cohen Warns Russia Against Use of Illegal Chemical Weapons

Press Release

Date: March 12, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

In response to indications that the Russian Federation may be contemplating employing chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction through "false flag" operations against the people of Ukraine, Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09) issued the following statement:

"Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin's barbaric war against Ukraine has been stymied by the heroism of the Ukrainian people in the face of overwhelming odds. Unable to subjugate Ukraine despite every military advantage, the Kremlin has increasingly adopted war crimes and illegal weapons as a matter of strategy, targeting civilians, residential areas, kindergartens, and even a maternity hospital.

"Now, the Kremlin has intimated that it may be willing to employ unlawful and malicious chemical munitions, or other weapons of mass destruction, in its failing war. Even more cynically, the Kremlin has suggested that it may frame the beleaguered and innocent Ukrainian people in a "false flag" operation for its malevolent designs.

"Such evil must not be allowed to stand. Were Russia to cross this bloody red line, it would represent not only a dramatic escalation in its illegal war, and a violation of its many obligations under international law, but should be considered an act of war against the United States, Europe, and all of humanity.

"I call on President Biden and the global community to speak in one voice that such a course of action will not be tolerated, and to take whatever measures are necessary to deter Russia from even conceiving of such a dark and destructive course of action."

On March 9, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed, without any evidence and in defiance of all reason, that Ukrainian forces may be preparing attacks using chemical or biological weapons. This matches past Russian accusations that appear to project its own intentions, including erroneous Kremlin claims about the origins of its ongoing war against Ukraine.