VILNIUS – The use of chemical weapons in Russia's war against Ukraine could play a role in having impact on countries that are still hesitant about stronger support for Kyiv, Lithuanian National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas says.
His comment came in response to yet unverified reports of the use of chemical weapons in Russia's attempted takeover of Mariupol.
"If confirmed, they would have impact, like the Bucha massacre, and would make those hesitant countries join in supporting Ukraine. If there's doubt on the supply of heavy weapons, and whether it's is possible to support Ukraine at all, the situation may change," Anusauskas told reporters at the Seimas on Tuesday after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's virtual address to the Lithuanian Seimas.
The minister pointed out, however, that the use of chemical weapons doesn't change anything in military terms.
"Everybody knows that chemical weapons in small quantities have not been and will not be effective. The occupier might use it further away from the front line. It might have some frightening effect but, militarily, it is a weapon that is irrelevant to the war per se," Anusauskas said.
In his words, 90 percent of NATO countries are supplying weapons to Ukraine, while 10 percent are not because of a different position or a lack of ability to do so.
The Ukrainian military and the country's lawmaker Ivana Klympush claimed earlier that Russia had used an unknown substance in Mariupol on Monday, causing people to suffer respiratory problems.
The UK later said it's trying to verify these reports.