Putin warns the world as Russia tests new missile

Moscow : Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia has successfully tested the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, saying the next-generation capable of carrying nuclear charges will make Kremlin’s enemies think twice.

Meanwhile, reports say Russia may have used chemical weapons in its invasion of Ukraine, according to unconfirmed reports from the besieged city of Mariupol last week.

The reports have been taken seriously, with official investigations announced and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons monitoring the situation. To date, however, there is no solid evidence to support these claims.
But what are the chemical weapons that could be used in Ukraine, and how will their reported use be investigated? As a chemical engineer who studies dangerous chemicals in the environment, I can help answer these questions.

What are chemical weapons? Any harmful chemical substance can be used as a weapon. This includes deadly compounds designed specifically for use in battle, but also extends to many compounds used in industry that are harmful when handled improperly.

Because of their indiscriminate nature, the use of any chemical agent in warfare has been internationally outlawed.

However, controlling the production and distribution of dual-use chemicals (such as chlorine) and riot control agents like tear gas is much harder than regulating dedicated chemical weapons such as sarin and other nerve agents.

It can also be difficult to demonstrate a dual-use chemical was intended for use as a weapon.

An unconfirmed report On April 11, the first report of Russia using chemical weapons in the invasion of Ukraine emerged from the besieged city of Mariupol.

Members of the Azov Battalion, a far-right unit of the Ukrainian National Guard, claimed a number of its fighters had been injured by white smoke emitted from a device dropped by a Russian drone.

Injuries from the incident, which occurred at the Azovstal steelworks, reportedly included skin and lung damage and were not life-threatening.

Possible explanations This white smoke could be a chemical weapon, many of which attack the body’s skin and mucosa (organ linings) at openings such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. Conventionally, chemical weapons have also been delivered in munitions that disperse smoke-like aerosols or vapour.

Yet there are other plausible explanations.

The steelworks would house many industrial chemicals, which could be inadvertently released in an active battle. The reported symptoms are consistent with exposure to the fumes of a great many chemical irritants.

The eyewitness reports are not specific enough to discount these possibilities, or to assign the incident to any one class of chemical warfare agent.