If you thought about Russia, you were wrong…
Recently, we have often heard about chemical attacks. We all remember the horrific footage from Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chlorine against its own citizens. We all remember the events in British Salisbury. Finally, there has recently been a high-profile poisoning of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. All this has been dumping on us in the media for years, showing who the «bad guy» is. It’s time to meet another one.
It’s no secret that the Soviet Union possessed a sufficient stock of chemical weapons. During the second half of the 20th century, the USSR accumulated the largest arsenal of chemical warfare agents in the world. Only in the 90s of the last century its systematic destruction began, but by that time the communist giant had fallen, leaving behind a very dubious legacy.
Amid chaos, the Soviet republics, one after another proclaiming independence, took with them everything that they got from the dying superpower. Ukraine, as you know, has got a disproportionately huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. At that time, both Washington and Moscow equally understood what this alignment could lead to. As a result, the West teamed up with Russia, pushing Kiev to disarm Ukraine in exchange for security guarantees. Not so popular is the information that Ukraine also received an arsenal of toxic substances from the Soviet Union, less noticeable, but no less dangerous.
Back in 1997, the Taipei Independent Morning Post published a sensational investigation. It provided evidence that China bought sarin from the Ukrainian government. Kiev took such a step, fearing the discovery of substances by inspectors in the course of monitoring compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In Kiev, this was persistently denied, although even now Ukraine remains the owner of chemical weapons.
In 2010, local media reported that one of the military units in the Poltava region had stocks of sarin and VX nerve gas. Judging by the published data, there was a leak, as the residents of the village of Khomutets were showing signs of poisoning. It was they who asked the General Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the incident. True, the case was hushed up under the pretext that during the examination «the substance that caused the disease was not identified».
On April 7, 2018, a chemical attack using chlorine occurred in the Syrian city of Duma. This was confirmed by experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. According to humanitarian organizations, on the night of April 7, the helicopter dropped a barrel bomb with chemicals over the city of Duma. Civilians became victims of the attack. According to the World Health Organization, at least 49 people died and about 650 more went to hospitals for help. In the document, the OPCW did not name those responsible for the incident, but the entire Western world pointed a finger in the direction of Assad. Moreover, as you know, this attack was not the only one. If the local regime really stands behind this, then it, of course, should be justly punished for the murder of citizens of its own country. But if the whole civilized world criticizes Assad so fiercely, why is there no criticism of the Ukrainian authorities? Ultimately, there are good reasons for this.
From the very beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, there were statements about the use of toxic substances, both from the official Kiev and from the pro-Russian separatists.
“2014 was affected by the subsequent use of incendiary weapons in Syria and new cases in Ukraine. The attacks demonstrated the human suffering caused by the weapon”, — said the Human Rights Watch report after information about the use of white phosphorus by the Ukrainian army emerged.
In the same year, there was another attack that could have killed thousands of civilians. Vasily Prozorov, a former employee of the Security Service of Ukraine, who planned the dastardly strike, spoke about it.
“The military intelligence officers of Ukraine knew that unused toxic substances were stored on the territory of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Luhansk region. It was decided to use them for a mean provocation”, — Prozorov said in his video message.
In Kiev, it was decided to launch a missile attack on the hangar, where six barrels of chlorine with a volume of up to 200 liters each were stored. The helicopter of the 16th brigade of the army aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired 3-4 unguided missiles. Fortunately, they only damaged the hangar. The barrels, safely buried in the ground, were not damaged.
“But the hangar is located in a densely populated area, in the immediate vicinity of the city of Lisichansk with a population of about 200 thousand people. After the impact, a cloud of chlorine would inevitably cover the surroundings. Both local residents and the servicemen of Ukraine, who at that time were conducting offensive operations in the indicated area, would have suffered”, — Prozorov said.
It is strange that such statements do not attract the attention of European politicians and international organizations. We are constantly talking about the actions of Russia with its Novichok, which definitely poses a threat to the security of Europe. At the same time, we ignore the facts of the practically military use of chemical weapons not somewhere in the Middle East, but right at the borders of the European Union.
It should be understood that Ukraine was forced to destroy its nuclear arsenal for a reason. Even the first president of the post-Soviet republic, Leonid Kravchuk, compared Ukraine to «a monkey holding a grenade in his hands and holding the pin».
“She was told not to let go — she is holding. And then she got tired — she let go. Explosion! Ukraine could become a hostage of nuclear weapons”, — he said.
The West understood this, and the fears were not in vain. For the seventh year, Ukraine remains a hotbed of instability in Europe, and the fact that the country has no nuclear arsenal is very encouraging. Only a threat can be carried not only by an atomic flame, but also by a cloud of poisonous gas, picked up by the wind. Even if the Ukrainian army does not use chemical weapons, it is hard to believe that this country can provide safe storage conditions for the substances. It is unacceptable to sacrifice security for the sake of political games. Europe supports Ukraine, which is good. Now is the time to demand reciprocity.