The US State Department has accused Russia of deploying a chemical weapon against Ukrainian forces, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The accusation was made on Wednesday, alongside the announcement of fresh sanctions against Moscow.

According to a factsheet released by the department, Russia used the chemical agent chloropicrin, as well as "riot control agents (tear gas)," in Ukraine, both in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"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," the State Department stated.

Simultaneously, the US Treasury Department introduced sweeping sanctions aimed at crippling Russia's military and industrial capabilities.

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The sanctions target nearly 300 entities in Russia, China, and other countries allegedly supporting President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

These sanctions aim to punish companies involved in supplying weapons for Russia's war in Ukraine, as well as Russian government entities and companies involved in the country's chemical and biological weapons programs.

Russia has denied possessing a military chemical arsenal, but faces pressure for more transparency regarding the alleged use of toxic weapons.

Chloropicrin, the chemical allegedly used by Russia, is known to pose health risks if inhaled and is used both as a warfare agent and pesticide, according to the US National Institutes of Health.

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"Today's actions will further disrupt and degrade Russia's war efforts by going after its military industrial base and the evasion networks that help supply it," stated Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

These accusations and sanctions come a week after US President Joe Biden signed a bill providing new funding for Ukraine, as its military struggles to hold back Russian advances.

"Even as we're throwing sand in the gears of Russia's war machine, President Biden's recently-passed National Security Supplemental is providing badly-needed military, economic, and humanitarian support to bolster Ukraine's courageous resistance," Yellen added.

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As part of the measures, the State Department also blacklisted additional individuals and companies involved in Moscow's energy, mining, and metals sectors.

Moreover, the sanctions targeted individuals connected to the death of Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, who died in a Siberian prison in February.

The Treasury Department's list of almost 300 sanctioned targets includes dozens of actors accused of enabling Russia to acquire technology and equipment from abroad.

Among those targeted are companies based in countries such as China, which has faced increasing pressure from Washington over its support for Russia during its 15-month invasion of Ukraine.

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