(WASHINGTON) — Members of the U.S. Congress said the Biden administration and its allies will not stand by if chemical weapons were used in the Russian war with Ukraine.
Lawmakers monitoring developments during a trip to Poland said on Tuesday that the U.S. is investigating reports that a poisonous substance had been dropped in Mariupol. But they cautioned that determining the nature of the attack in the beleaguered port city could take time.
“We’re taking those reports seriously and I know the United States government and others are trying to determine if that did indeed occur,” said Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.
Crow said the administration “has been very clear that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”
The Democratic lawmakers, all members of the House Intelligence Committee, are bracing for a potentially long war in Ukraine. They said at a press briefing that Congress is looking at the next steps in sending additional military and other aid to Ukraine.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also addressed the reports coming from Mariupol.
“We’re not in a position to confirm anything, I don’t think Ukrainians are either,” Blinken told reporters. “But let me say that we had credible information that Russian forces may use a variety of riot control agents, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents, that would cause stronger symptoms to weaken, incapacitate ... Ukrainian fighters and civilians, as part of the aggressive campaign” in Mariupol.
“We share that information with ... Ukraine and other partners,” Blinken said. “And we’re in direct conversation with partners to try to determine what actually is happening.”