Russian forces are using chemical weapons against Ukrainian troops, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Forces has claimed.

Col. Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky said that following an artillery strike against Ukrainian positions near the Donbas city of Bakhmut, soldiers showed symptoms including nausea, vomiting and, in a few cases, loss of consciousness.

“During the artillery bombardments they use a chemical called lewisite,” Dmytrashkivsky said in a video posted on social media.

Ukrainian chemical warfare specialists were still evaluating evidence and identification of lewisite as the chemical weapon used was preliminary, Dmyrtrashkivsky said.

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday Dmytrashkivsky’s statement was rapidly going viral across Ukrainian mass media, but the claims had yet to be independently verified. 

Advertisement

Kyiv Post spoke to a member of Ukraine’s reserve forces who, speaking on background, said he was not surprised the alleged chemical attack had taken place.

Ukrainian army chemical weapons defense teams have trained continually since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has always considered Russian chemical attack a real possibility, he said.

What is lewisite?

First used in combat during World War I, lewisite is a chemical compound commonly called vesicant or blistering agent, because it causes blistering on the skin and mucous membranes on contact.

Israel's Allies Accused of Double Standards: Bohdan Nahaylo
Other Topics of Interest

Israel's Allies Accused of Double Standards: Bohdan Nahaylo

Ukraine has endured Russia’s missile attacks for over two years, but Western powers have not shown the same political will to protect Ukrainian skies as in the case of Israel.

In its pure form it appears as an oily, colorless liquid but when used in weapons its color can range from amber to black.

Lewisite is said to smell of geraniums. Its only use is as a chemical warfare agent, typically delivered by artillery shells or, less commonly, by aerial bombs. The compound has no other medical or practical use.

Signs and symptoms follow from exposure. These typically include:

•          Skin pain and irritation within seconds of contact which will redden within 15 to 30 minutes then becoming blistered after several hours;

Advertisement

•          Eyes will suffer immediate irritation, pain, swelling, and tearing on contact;

•          Respiratory tract starts with runny nose which will quickly turn to sneezing, hoarseness, bloody nose, sinus pain, shortness of breath, and cough;

•          Digestive tract will react with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting after minutes or hours;

•          Cardiovascular system will exhibit “lewisite shock,” which appears as very low blood pressure.

Lewisite exposure treatment consists of cleaning the chemical from the body as soon as possible and administering medical care in a hospital setting.

An antidote for lewisite, called dimercaprol, and also known as British Anti-Lewisite (BAL), was invented during World War I.

The antidote BAL is administered by an intramuscular injection and, if given in sufficient time, will decrease the toxicity of the chemical in the body.

The antidote will not repair damage to skin, eyes, or airways, which would require other medical intervention.

Advertisement

Reports of potential chemical weapons use in the war have cropped up intermittently but, thus far, without independent confirmation. The most widely reported incident took place in April 2022, when Ukrainian troops defending the Azovstal steel mill in the besieged city Mariupol reported Russian use of a gas causing mucous irritation, asphyxiation and nausea.

Ukrainian officials echoed the claim Russian artillery had used chemical weapons against Mariupol’s defenders and gunners firing the shells were responsible for war crimes.

Moscow officials subsequently claimed the Russian military respects the rules of war and that allegations about chemical weapons use in Mariupol was Ukrainian or NATO propaganda.

The chemical white phosphorus – an agent with the primary military uses of making smoke and setting fires, but fully capable of killing individuals by severe burns or asphyxiation – has been used by both sides in the war.

Russian army general Sergei Surovikin, the commander of the Kremlin’s brutal assault on Mariupol, and the senior officer in the Russian campaign to level the Syrian city Aleppo, in public statements described white phosphorus as an excellent weapon with which to reduce civilian structures and military defenses alike.

Advertisement

Drone operators on both sides of the Russo-Ukrainian War have from time to time attempted attacks against enemy trenches using tear gas (CS) grenades. CS gas is not commonly used in grenade-drop drone attacks, due to the relatively small amount of CS gas in a grenade and more lethal results dropping conventional hand grenades or modified mortar shells.  

On Monday and Tuesday, officials in Kyiv and Moscow traded repeated accusations that the other side was preparing to use a weapon of mass destruction. The most common scenario was a nuclear incident following intentional destruction of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, near the city Kakhovka, but some Russia-supporting information platforms predicted a chemical weapons-related incident.

On Tuesday, the Moscow-loyal Kherson Vestnik Telegram channel claimed the Ukrainian government intended to manufacture a chemical weapons incident using barrels of chlorine against unsuspecting Ukrainian troops. The platform did not offer evidence.

Chemical Weapons Convention

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which is officially called the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, came into into force on April 29, 1997.

Per the treaty, holders of such weapons were obliged to commence verified destruction of all current chemical weapons, other than small amounts to be retained for testing or development of defensive countermeasures. All destruction activities were to take place under OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) verification.

Advertisement

Currently 193 states, including Russia are signatories of the convention and have (supposedly) accepted their obligations to the treaty. Russia claimed to have destroyed the balance of its chemical weapons in 2017.

British law enforcers and courtrooms have confirmed the Kremlin violated that commitment, at minimum, in March 2018 attacks against the former KGB officer, Sergei Skripal, in the UK city of Salisbury. The Kremlin denied wrongdoing.

Prominent Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny in the Siberian city of Omsk in August 2020 was poisoned by the Russia-developed “Novichok” nerve agent. He survived.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the attempted assassination. Moscow officials denied wrongdoing and claimed Navalny’s illness was probably because of something he ate.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (18)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

So it's clearly a lie now

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

They lied about Tonkin; they lied about Kuwait; they lied about Iraq; now they must telling truth!

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
nadina wanknasz
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Stop being fat fuckers that play too much risk, spectate like it's a sport and do something or I swear to fuck- you're part of the problem and it's like a watching some televised sportsball shindig with chhips for you. You capable of fighting for the right to party? prove it, fat fucks. DO something other than get ass pimples sitting on your ego all day. Do some amphetamines, do something or kill yourself

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Ashley dawn mackay
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Also faggot doesn't mean lgbtq members- it clearly means these political fuckers because let;s get real- the best word for em is FUCKING FAAAGGOTTTSSSSSSS

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Ashley dawn mackay
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

fucking pussies. I spit on them and pour one out to lil buddies who's lives were lost and the living who pay the cost. Fuck this shit o'clock

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Ashley dawn mackay
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Maybe the leaders should just go toe to toe, blow for blow with nothing but fists to throw like it SHOULD be. Want some oil? Fist fight, fucking fair is fair. Be "men" and settle it yourselves. don't use us- we already fund the country that we have an equal right living on. Want us to die for you?

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Ashley dawn mackay
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Any rich people that want to fund an army that irradicates leaders willing to kill innocent civilians of all nations? anybody doing anything aside bitching online? yes? no? am i just not invited to the party?

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Any proofs so far?

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
David  C Stevens
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

I think they overlook the biological factors in waging wars.desiese and pestilence start to occur as well as cholera botulism ,tricanosis,ect ect ect.BDE Blast Debris Exposure is a real bad bad thing.Artillary fire leads to acrid smoke containing heavy metals and asbestos as well as a myriad of other things.Busted sewer lines improper provost contaminated water tables ,petrochemicals in the well water ect ect.If I was the UN or WHO I,d shut down your "insane war" before it spreads like a deadly virus and kills us all.Victims of our own indiscretion.God help us all.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Oslo
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

To Russian trolls fuck off go back to the shit pile that pucked you up and shut your mouth fucking zombie.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Freddie
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

The world needs to wake up! To the peaple of the Ukraine know this i love you because you are human beings facing a vile evil with so much courage. That piece of shit in Russia needs to die along with his war criminal friends. I am so pissed so angry and I want to scream at the world stop being afraid of this shit head. He will not stop so we need to stop him. The brave people of the Ukraine understand either they fight or they die. How more real does it get than that holy shit wake up!

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
I support
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

We need to end this stupid war send in the 82nd airborne destroy these monsters.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Col. Jim Worrall
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Shame on the west for allowing Putin to remain in power. Shame on the USA for not defending Ukraine pursuant to the treaty signed between Russia, Ukraine and the USA to entice Ukraine to remove their nuclear weapons. Who believes Putin would have invaded if Ukraine retained their nuclear weapons?

Oslo
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Col. Jim Worrall, yup your right sir

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Load More Replies
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
I support
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Vile

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Give it back to them. If they want to gas Ukrainians fire mountains of tear gas at them back. Scumbag invaders.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
MosheBenIssac
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Russia may be doing this because they are losing and desperate. It looks like lewisite is being used as an area denial weapon. While lewisite is a WW1-vintage weapon, it's still very deadly and effective. It makes Ukraine's fight much harder. Using NBC gear complicates Ukraine's ability to advance. It plays in Russia's favor as a defensive barrier and will buy them time.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
MJ
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

The most likely scenario is that Russia is burning through its oldest artillery shells and some will have the chemical still intact. It matters not on this incident as Russia and its citizens will suffer for Poot'ens criminal behavior for the next 40 years and those in charge will be sought for war crimes.

Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@MJ, the most likely scenario is that Ukrainian HQ should change their drug dealer.

MJ
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Alex Povolotsky, The only narrative pro Poot'en supports can change is inside of Russia, reality will set in for the Russian citizen when this conflict is over and the prosecutions begin, sanctions are enhanced, and the Ruble is worthless. As it looks extremely positive Trump will be elected and then, bye bye Russia as a super power!

Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@MJ, "Poot'en" means "I have no arguments and resort to attempted insults" or "I do not understand the difference"?

MJ
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Alex Povolotsky, Poot'en means he's full of fecal matter, Russia is weak and if they faced a real superpower like the US Russia would be the 51st state in less than a week! Russia picks fights with smaller nations to make it look big... Russian females need to take over as their men only die on the battle field...

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Looks like someone has a very bad trip. Lewisite is out of production for decades, as far as I know, some amount is still stored in USA, but no factories exists for maybe 70, maybe more years.
I guess next thing to report is a Kolossal canon to shot on Lviv.
Chemical weapons are useless in modern combat for some 70-80 years, and Lewisite is one of the least useful ones

Jared Hall
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Alex Povolotsky, Nonsense. Tell this to people from Chapayevsk. As for modern combat, who said Russia was "modern"? Syria comes to mind. No, this IS the same OLD Russia, just a different day.

What is funny is that Russia is so scared of losing that which was never theirs!

Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Jared Hall, Chapaevsk? I know about explosion, bot nothing regarding chemical weapons. Syria? A friend of mine, military toxicologist, laughed his head off on both Syrian reports and recent video from Ukraine showing "chemical attack by the Ukraine forces".
Lewisite was considered obsolete in USSR since about 1950.
However, USA has excellent experts on chemical and biological weapons. Colin Powell is dead, but his school of __honest__ expertise is alive.
However, since no evidence has surfaced after 36 hours of reported "chemical attack", I can bet it's just another lie.

Oslo
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Alex Povolotsky, your a living lie

Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Oslo, two days, 0 proofs. And you're calling me a liar?

Alex Povolotsky
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Oslo, so, no proofs about Lewisite? How predictable.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png