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RUSSIA could face a retaliatory chemical weapons attack if it unleashes deadly gases on innocent civilians in Ukraine, Joe Biden said yesterday.
The US President sounded the warning as world leaders met to discuss measures available to combat Vladimir Putin amid fears he could use the barbaric munitions.
Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders gather to discuss Ukraine at Nato HQCredit: AFP
Vladimir Putin has been warned he could face chemical attack if he uses deadly gas on innocent UkrainiansCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Boris Johnson warned the Kremlin dictator would face “catastrophic consequences” if he dared do so, as concerned western chiefs stepped up preparations to ship out hazmat suits to war-torn Ukraine.
The PM did not rule out putting boots on the ground in the event of a chemical strike, as Mr Biden warned that the West could launch a “response in kind” at the landmark summit at Nato’s HQ.
It came as Nato stepped up chemical and nuclear defences and announced 6,000 soldiers in four new battalions would head to Eastern Europe to bolster the 40,000 already facing down Putin’s forces.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, pleaded with world leaders to send him “one per cent” of their aircraft and tanks.
In other developments:
- VLADIMIR Putin’s spokesman declared Boris Johnson enemy number one for leading the world in response to Russia’s aggression;
- THE US vowed to put up 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide $1billion more help;
- PRESIDENT Biden said the US would ship liquified gas to Europe to try to help countries wean themselves off Russia’s fuel;
- BRITAIN slapped sanctions on another slew of Russian oligarchs and banking chiefs, and;
- RUSSIAN TV warned of nuclear war if Nato sends in troops to the region.
Mr Johnson told the Brussels mega-summit of EU and G7 chiefs that using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons would be “catastrophic” for Putin.
He said: “There is a visceral horror of the use of these weapons of mass destruction. I think that if Putin were to engage in anything like that, the consequences would be very, very severe.”
He added that the Alliance must maintain “ambiguity” to keep Putin second guessing their response.
The PM pleaded with world leaders not to abandon President Zelensky — but admitted Britain could not provide him with the tanks and jets he has asked for.
Slovenian PM Janez Jansa warned that Russia could unleash a “catastrophe” on Europe by accidentally shelling a chemical plant.
He told Putin such a scenario “could” trigger Nato’s Article 5 defence clause that states an attack on one is an attack on all.
The new troops announced yesterday will be posted to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Brit troops are already stationed in Poland and Estonia and will play a part in the new forces plan.
But behind closed doors, officials talked down the possibility of triggering an aggressive response, saying it would make too many countries “direct” targets.
And they admitted that the huge package of international sanctions was not pushing Putin to change his mind about the disastrous war.
RUSSIA is feared to hold a chemical weapons stockpile totalling tens of thousands of tons.
As the Soviet Union, it stockpiled nearly 40,000 tons of toxins, the world’s largest collection.
Putin claims to have destroyed it all in 2017. But Russian or Russian-backed nerve agents have been used in recent years. In Syria, Russia propped up the regime in 2015 and nerve agent sarin killed over 1,400 victims. In 2006, Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko died of polonium poisoning in London.
Then in 2018, MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury. It was also used on critic Alexei Navalny in 2020.
Senior officials also played down the prospect of putting Nato boots on the ground in Ukraine.
Poland raged at other EU leaders for urging Mr Zelensky to make concessions in ongoing peace talks. President Biden would only say it was “their judgment to make” if they wanted to negotiate.
Whitehall sources said the PM had been privately urging Mr Biden to stand firm for as long as possible, insisting Ukraine should get to decide its own destiny.
In a virtual address to the allies yesterday, President Zelensky urged the leaders for “one per cent of all your planes, one per cent of all your tanks” but it appeared his demand would not be met.
Piling fresh pressure on Western nations to step up their help he said it would show “who is a friend, who is a partner and who has sold out and betrayed us”.
Mr Johnson, meanwhile, praised the Ukrainian leader, right, saying: “Volodymyr Zelensky has proved to be one of the most extraordinary war leaders of recent times.
“He has marshalled world opinion and mobilised his country.
“What he wants from us is more diplomatic pressure around the world. He wants tighter economic sanctions on the Putin regime.
“He wants some very specific military support, defensive military support for the Ukrainian armed forces and that we are determined to provide.”
Mr Johnson hailed him as Ukraine’s Churchill in their darkest hour. He told LBC: “He knows, as Churchill said of himself, he may not have been the lion but he’s been privileged to give the roar.”
The PM also branded Putin a war criminal for the first time — saying he had “crossed the red line”. But he denied he was anti Russian and said he had nothing against the innocent people who were getting dragged into the conflict by Putin.
Fire and smoke lights up the sky in east of KharkivCredit: AFP
Poland raged at other EU leaders for urging Mr Zelensky to make concessions in ongoing peace talksCredit: AP
Pro-Russian troops drive armoured vehicles past local residents in the besieged southern port city of MariupolCredit: Reuters
JOE BIDEN IN CALL FOR RUSSIAN G20 BOOT
RUSSIA should be booted out of the G20 club of wealthy nations for waging war in Europe, according to US President Joe Biden.
Mr Biden said he would like to see Ukraine invited to the next summit in Indonesia later this year — if the Kremlin is not expelled.
Asked yesterday if he would like to see Putin removed from the club, Mr Biden replied: “My answer is ‘Yes’, it depends on the G20.”
The news comes a day after David Cameron called on the UK and the allies to make a “pre-emptive announcement” banning the Putin regime from the trading bloc. The former Prime Minister warned world leaders they risked holding unpalatable dinner meetings, saying: “Welcome to Bali, Mr President. Your dinner companion will be the mass murderer and war criminal Vladimir Putin.”
Mr Cameron insisted diplomats should start work convincing the likes of Argentina, Brazil and India to agree to further exiling Russia.
Indonesia has said it will remain impartial as the rotating chair of the G20. Russia’s ambassador to Jakarta confirmed Putin plans to attend the summit in November.
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