Russia Warns U.S. Over Ukraine Weapons of Mass Destruction 'Provocations'

In response to a Newsweek article, Russia has reiterated its claims that the U.S. is preparing "provocations" so it can accuse Moscow of using weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The Russian embassy in the U.S. took exception to the op-ed by Bonnie Jenkins, the U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and international security, on the 25th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) coming into force.

Jenkins wrote in the April 29 article for Newsweek that the anniversary "occurs under the shadow that Russia could use such weapons in Ukraine."

But the Russian embassy described the comments as "groundless accusations" and that Moscow is "once again unreasonably credited with the presence of undeclared chemical weapons and their use."

The mission's statement on Facebook said that Russia has "irrefutable" information that the U.S. is preparing "provocations to accuse the Russian Armed Forces of using weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine."

This reprises a claim made earlier in April by the Russian Defense Ministry that the U.S. has developed false-flag scenarios to accuse Moscow of a WMD attack in Ukraine. Russia has been accused of using chemical weapons in the southeastern city of Mariupol on April 11, although the claims are as yet unverified.

Friday's post said: "We urge Washington to think about it and give up on provocations that may lead to the death of tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens and cause an ecological and humanitarian disaster."

State news agency Tass reported earlier comments made by Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, that Russian armed forces in Ukraine "do not and cannot have chemical munitions."

The Tass report of the embassy statement was tweeted by journalist and Russia media watcher Julia Davis, who wrote, "Sounds like Russia is up to no good with these ludicrous proclamations about WMDs.

"I hope this is nothing more than gaslighting and fear mongering, but Putin's history of prior atrocities can't be discounted," she added.

In March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia makes accusations of false flag operations as a projection of what Moscow wants to do and that if you want to know the Kremlin's intentions, "look at what Russia accuses others of."

The U.S. and Ukraine have previously accused Russia of planning false flag operations to justify its actions. Before the war, U.S. officials alleged Russia had been preparing to "fabricate a pretext for an invasion" by claiming a fake attack by Ukraine. In March, the U.S. said Russia could launch a chemical attack after Moscow accused Ukraine of preparing a false flag chemical weapons operation.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky accused Russia of attacks in the breakaway region of Transnistria, to drag Moldova into the war.

Meanwhile, Russia has also responded angrily to comments by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby who became emotional as he talked about the horrors that have been unfolding in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.

When asked if President Vladimir Putin was a "rational actor," he told reporters on Friday it was "difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can't talk to his psychology, but I think we can all speak to his depravity."

In a post shared on social media, Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, called the comments "offensive and unacceptable" and said that he has "lost the dignity of an American officer, descending to public insults."

Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon for comment.

Ukrainian soldiers
Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armored personnel carrier (APC) in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, on April 29, 2022. Russia has accused the U.S. of planning "provocations" to claim that Moscow was using weapons of mass destruction. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/Getty Images