John Gilbert, a senior science fellow with the Center for Arms Control and Non Proliferation’s Chemical and Biological Arms Control Working Group – who previously conducted inspections in Russia and the Ukraine as a U.S. military officer – concurred that a chlorine release would result in significant injuries and would be fatal to most. He also said that steps should be put in place now to minimize potential fallout.
“The fact that there are many large industrial facilities and water treatment plants in the conflict zone is cause for concern. Ensuring that workers in the vicinity of toxic stockpiles have immediate access to protective equipment (such as masks) is important,” Gilbert noted, cautioning that safety equipment is both costly and requires training to don and wear properly, in addition to having a limited shelf life. “Collateral – or even intentional – chemical casualties from the Ukraine conflict is a real possibility.”