Russia preparing provocation in Donbas using chemical weapons to discredit Ukraine internationally
Russia has been preparing an act of provocation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with the use of chemical weapons in order to accuse the Ukrainian military, a representative of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's intelligence directorate has said.
"At present, the [Ukrainian] military intelligence has seen a number of signs indicating that Russia has been preparing an act of sabotage and terror with the use of chemical toxic substances... In the middle of December, a group of Russian specialists in chemical, military and toxic substances arrived in Donbas. The group included Russian special services agents and agents of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB)," Defense Department intelligence directorate representative Vadym Skybytsky said at a briefing in Kyiv on Saturday, December 29.
According to him, the Russian Federation wants to make use of Donbas-based enterprises with hazardous production, in particular, where stocks of toxic substances (chlorine and ammonia) are stored. The use of chemical weapons can be facilitated by weather conditions, which strengthen their toxicity, in particular, chlorine.
Skybytsky said the occupation forces in Donbas have been preparing for operations under conditions of chemical contamination. Chemical protective clothing and equipment for Russia-led armed formations have been imported from Russia.
"At the same time, the Russian special services are cynically counting on large-scale civilian casualties, which will ensure a certain response and attention from the international community," Skybytsky said, adding the disaster would be presented by Russian propagandists as the use of chemical weapons by Ukrainian armed forces against the residents of Donbas.
Russia is trying to use its entire arsenal of information and political propaganda to discredit Ukraine before the international community, Skybytsky said.
He said a similar scheme had been used by Russia before a chemical attack in the Aleppo area in Syria.