Margaret E. Kosal, member of the Scientists Working Group on Chemical and Biological Threats, was cited in a Voice of America article about the Ukrainian authorities’ claim that chemical weapons were used in Mariupol.
Georgia Tech University professor Margaret Kosal (Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Institute of Technology) noted that in a war it is extremely important to find out whether the use of chemical warfare agents took place, since various substances can cause similar symptoms.
“First of all, you need to get evidence. One type of weapon that could conceivably have been used, and which is often used in urban warfare, is white phosphorus. White phosphorus is not a chemical weapon. It is used primarily as a smoke generating agent, which can also be used as a military incendiary. Phosphorus can cause burns and harm people if used accidentally or intentionally. It does not apply to chemical weapons, but falls under the existing ban on the use of indiscriminate weapons against civilians. And this, in any case, qualifies as a war crime,” says Kosal.
If Russia’s use of chemical weapons is confirmed, Kosal said, some countries that have not previously openly criticized the invasion of Ukraine may change their position. Read more