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UK Warns Vladimir Putin May Use Banned Weapons In Desperate Attempt To Seize Mariupol

UK Warns Vladimir Putin May Use Banned Weapons In Desperate Attempt To Seize Mariupol

The Ministry of Defence in London has warned Vladimir Putin may use phosphorous bombs in his attempt to seize Mariupol in Ukraine

The UK's Ministry of Defence has warned that Vladimir Putin may use phosphorous bombs in his attempt to seize Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.

In an overnight briefing, British defence chiefs warned Russian attacks were intensifying in the city, where more than 5,000 civilians are believed to have been killed so far. 

It was reported last month that Russia used white phosphorus munitions in Donetsk, which ‘raises the possibility of their future employment in Mariupol’.

White phosphorus is used legally by militaries as a smokescreen, but can be used illegally against civilians and causes serious burns on contact with skin. 

The Ministry of Defence in London said on Monday, 11 April: “Russian forces' prior use of phosphorous munitions in the Donetsk Oblast raises the possibility of their future employment in Mariupol as fighting for the city intensifies.

“Russian shelling has continued in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with Ukrainian forces repulsing several assaults resulting in the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles, and artillery equipment.

“Russia’s continued reliance on unguided bombs decreases their ability to discriminate when targeting and conducting strikes while greatly increasing the risk of further civilian casualties.”

The MoD also warned of a rise in claims that Russian military were committing sexual violence and that evidence of Putin’s forces enacting war crimes was mounting.

British intelligence chiefs continued: “Further evidence of alleged Russian war crimes continues to emerge following Russian withdrawal from northern Ukraine.

“This includes the reported discovery of a makeshift grave containing deceased Ukrainian civilians near Burzova.”

They added: “Allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by Russian military personnel persist.”

Last week, a visibly-disturbed president Zelenskyy fought back tears when he visited Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

In the city, Associated Press (AP) journalists saw 21 bodies, including a group of nine in civilian clothes who appeared to have been shot at close range. 

At least two had their hands tied behind their backs.

Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in towns around Kyiv that had been recaptured from Russian forces.

Addressing reporters, Zelenskyy said thousands of civilians had been raped, tortured and murdered. "It's very difficult to talk. It's very difficult to negotiate when you see what they did here," he said.

"Every day we find people in barrels, cellars and everywhere else, some strangled, some clearly tortured."

He continued: "These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide. You are here today and can see what happened.

"We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women, murdered children. I think it is more than... this is a genocide."

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/manhhai/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Topics: Russia, Ukraine, World News, Vladimir Putin