The US State Department said on Wednesday that Russian forces have been using the banned choking agent chloropicrin against Ukrainian soldiers, in violation of international accords.

“The use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident and is probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield,” a release from the State Department read.

The agent, widely used by Germany in World War I, has been banned by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for about 30 years. Kyiv has long accused Moscow of deploying illegal gases against Ukrainian troops.

The State Department identified a “specialized Russian military unit responsible for identification of and decontamination from radioactive, chemical and biological hazards. The RCB DEFENSE TROOPS have been involved in the day-to-day operations of Russia’s chemical weapons program and also have facilitated the use of the chemical weapon chloropicrin by Russian armed forces against Ukrainian troops.”

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The department also announced new sanctions on more than 280 entities and individuals order to curb Russia’s “foreign aggression and internal repression.”

Moscow holds May Day parade with captured Western weapons

A May Day parade in Moscow drew crowds of spectators to admire Western tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons captured in Ukraine during Russia’s full-scale invasion.

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Held in Park Pobedy, or “Victory Park” named to commemorate the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, the spectacle was designed to draw fictitious parallels between that war and the Kremlin’s “special operation” in Ukraine, and to reassure the average Russian that the campaign has been wildly successful.

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Military tour guides at the parade tried to drive that point home in interviews with Agence France Presse.

One of the guides, Andrei Lyubchikov, told an AFP reporter that, “Like in the Second World War, our fighters are resisting in the face of the West and its technology. They are winning.”

Among the 32 pieces of equipment on display were a damaged Abrams tank from the United States, different models of Leopard tanks from Germany and a French AMX-10 armored fighting vehicle. There was also a smattering of US-made Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees, a British-made HUSKY vehicle, howitzer cannons and a Turkish-made military truck.

The exhibit was entitled “Trophies of the Russian Army” and was littered with banners declaring “Our Victory Is Assured.”

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Right-wing US Congresswoman ridicules Ukrainian aid with new Trump-like swag

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a loyal congressional servant of former President Donald Trump and vociferous opponent of US aid to Ukraine, unveiled her latest provocation on Wednesday in Washington: a “Make Ukraine Great Again” hat, reminiscent of similar campaign tchotchke favored by the reality-show-host-turned-president.

Taylor Greene is what political pundits in the US refer to as “MAGA” Republican, in reference to the red-and-white hats they commonly wear with the slogan “Make America Great Again.” The phrase was first coined by Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in the 1980s, but Trump has co-opted it as his own, even though his foreign policy is diametrically opposed to that of the two-term president often credited with winning the Cold War.

The Georgia Republican has made a name for herself as a destroyer of Speakers of the House, having first joined a movement to oust the lower chamber’s leader Mike McCarthy of California last year, and is now spearheading the charge to remove his replacement, Mike Johnson of Louisiana. She announced her intentions to introduce a motion on his removal shortly after Johnson broke ranks with her right-wing fringe and floored a successful vote on foreign aid to Ukraine.

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During a press conference where she reiterated her desire to have Johnson removed, Taylor Greene pulled out the blue-and-yellow “MUGA” hat to remind her isolationist base that Johnson had handed President Joe Biden and the Democrats a victory on Ukraine aid.

HUR: Russia has about 40 hypersonic Tsirkon missiles left, and is making ten per month

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Military (HUR) said it believes that Russia has about 40 of its 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic missiles left at its disposal, and its manufacturer is on pace to deliver about ten of them per month, Armyinform reported Wednesday.

According to the interview with Kyiv’s military intelligence, Moscow has about 400 3M55/3M55M Oniks/Oniks M cruise missiles on hand (also with a production rate of nearly ten missiles per month) 270 of its 3M-14 Kalibr cruise missiles (with a production rate of 30-40 per month) and 45 Kh-69 guided aerial missiles, only a few of which can be delivered per month, the HUR source reported.

Ukraine’s forces show signs of push-back in eastern Donetsk region

While Russia continues to celebrate gains throughout Eastern Ukraine, fighting continues on the long-contested Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line. There have been no major reported gains on either side, but Ukrainian forces have managed to claw back at least some territory in a Donetsk town just west of Kreminna (in the Luhansk region.)

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces recently regained lost positions near Kreminna this week. Specifically, liberating forces advanced east of Yampolivka, retaking positions along a windbreak in the area.

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The ISW wrote that fighting continued west of Kreminna near Terny and Torske, southwest of Kreminna near the Serebryanske forest area; and south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka.

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