Chemical leak in Donbas may be used as a pretext for war, says Ukrainian military intelligence

17 January 2022, 07:39 PM

A chemical leak reported in the Donbas could be used as a pretext for Kremlin forces to invade Ukraine, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (HUR) warned in a Facebook post on Jan. 15.

According to intelligence reports, on Jan. 14, leaky containers of ammonia were delivered to chemical manufacturing company Stirol in the Russian-occupied town of Horlivka in the non-government-controlled part of Donetsk Oblast.

HUR also said that Russian proxy forces no longer have control of the importing of chemicals to the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Video of day

“This man-made catastrophe, caused by the actions of Russian occupiers, could be used to accuse Ukraine of using toxic chemicals and as a reason to expand armed aggression against our state,” the HUR post read.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu on Dec. 21 made a bizarre claim that U.S. mercenaries had been smuggling chemical weapons into Ukraine in order to carry out an attack. Shoygu provided no evidence for his claim.

No “U.S. mercenaries” are known to be active in Ukraine, and the only foreign forces in the country are small numbers of military trainers.

In contrast, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

Fears of a renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late October when Russian troops began building up on the Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories.

While Russia has denied it plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead demanding that it be given so-called “security guarantees” by the United States and NATO.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and European Union officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

 The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, previously stated that the Ukrainian government deemed the threat of a direct Russian invasion unlikely. However, in early December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news