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NATO fears Russia’s chemical attack in Ukraine


The NATO summit in Madrid in June would look at longer-term changes for the alliance. (File)

Brussels:

NATO is concerned that Russia is ready to launch a chemical attack on Ukraine, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of alliance defense ministers.

“We are concerned that Moscow may carry out a false flag operation, possibly including chemical weapons,” the NATO chief told reporters, referring to Russia’s “absurd statements” that Ukraine has biological weapons laboratories.

NATO, he said, remains “very vigilant” about the risk, stressing that Russia would have a “high price to pay” if it committed such a “violation of international law.”

In the event of a chemical attack, he refused to “speculate on a NATO military response.”

Wednesday’s meeting, Stoltenberg said, will include “specific measures to strengthen our security in all domains in the long run” to adapt to the changing environment of threats posed by Russia’s “senseless wars”.

“This could bring more forces into the eastern part of the alliance with greater readiness and more pre-deployed equipment,” he said, adding to NATO forces already sent to NATO countries bordering Ukraine.

The NATO summit in Madrid in June would look at longer-term changes for the alliance.

“It’s important to separate a lot about the immediate response – tens of thousands more soldiers, air power and naval power – and then a longer-term adjustment or stance,” he said, which will be discussed in June.

Asked about rumors of a possible NATO summit in Brussels next week, including US President Joe Biden, with leaders, Stoltenberg said no.

“We are able to hold a NATO summit with NATO leaders at short notice, but I cannot go into more detail about that now,” he said.

The president and prime minister of the European Union, which includes most NATO members, will meet in Brussels next Thursday and Friday for a summit on Russia’s war in Ukraine.



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