Ukrainian studies say marijuana has been poisoned

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Ukraine has launched an investigation into the poisoning of besieged Mariupol, with Western officials on Tuesday warning that the use of chemical weapons by Russia could be a serious escalation of the already devastating war..

Defeating his apparent ambition to seize the Ukrainian capital, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now building forces for a new offensive in the eastern Donbass region, insisting that his campaign on Tuesday will continue until it reaches its targets. He said that Russia had “no other option” except to start calling it a “special military operation” that would largely protect civilians in the Russian-speaking Donbass.

As Ukrainian forces prepare for a new offensive, Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malier has said that the phosphorus explosives used in Mariupol – which can cause terrible burns but are not classified as chemical weapons – are possible. The city is in Donbass and was demolished by Russian troops in six weeks, the mayor said, killing more than 10,000 civilians.Their corpses were “carpeted in the streets.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky said Monday night that Russian forces could use chemical weapons in the city, echoing repeated warnings from Western officials. And leaders inside and outside the country said they were urgently investigating the unconfirmed claim by the Ukrainian military that Mariupol had been poisoned by militants.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the use of chemical weapons “a serious escalation of the conflict”, while Australian Foreign Minister Maris Payne called it a “gross violation of international law.”

In the face of fierce opposition from Ukrainian forces fortified by Western weapons, Russian forces are increasingly bombing cities, leveling many urban areas and massacring thousands of people. In other areas, they have returned to integrate.

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Their retreat from the towns and cities surrounding the capital, Kiev, led to the discovery of large-scale massacres.Russia has provoked widespread condemnation and accusations of war crimes in Ukraine.

The war has forced more than 10 million Ukrainians out of their homes – almost two-thirds, including children..

Still, there are fears of even more widespread massacres, with the Russian military preparing for a major offensive in Donbass. A senior U.S. defense official described Monday a long Russian convoy rolling towards the eastern city of Izyum, backed by artillery, air traffic and infantry.

During his visit to the Far East, Putin stressed that military action would succeed and that foreign powers would not succeed in isolating Russia.

Russia’s economy and financial system have said that Western sanctions have overcome what he calls “Blitz” and that they will back down by raising the prices of essential commodities such as fertilizer, which has led to food shortages and increased migration to the West.

Donbass has been torn apart by fighting between Russian-allied separatists and Ukrainian forces since 2014, and Russia has recognized the separatists’ demands for independence. Military strategists say Russian leaders hope local support, logistics and territory in the region will favor Russia’s largest and best-armed military.

Describing a war going on around a steel plant in Mariupol, a separatist official affiliated with Russia on Monday urged the use of chemical weapons, Russian state television, saying separatist forces should seize the plant from Ukrainian forces. “Then we will use chemical forces to get them out of there,” he said.

But separatist forces “did not use any chemical weapons in Mariupol,” Edward Pasur was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian regiment guarding the plant claimed that a drone had thrown a poisonous object into the city. No serious injuries were reported. The insistence of the Azov Brigade, a far-right group now part of the Ukrainian military, has not been independently verified.

Truss said the UK was “working urgently” to investigate the report, while Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the United States could not confirm the drone report from Mariupol.

But Kirby noted the administration’s continued concerns about “Russia’s ability to use various riot control agents in Ukraine, including tear gas mixed with chemical agents.” Meanwhile, Britain has warned that Russia could use phosphorus bombs – its use in public places is prohibited under international law – by Mariupol.

The city has already seen severe attacks in the war and civilian sufferingBut the land, sea and air strikes by Russian forces fighting to seize it contain limited information about what is going on inside the city.

Speaking by phone to the Associated Press on Monday, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko accused Russian forces of blocking humanitarian convoys within the city for weeks as part of a cover-up. Boychenko said the death toll in Mariupol alone would exceed 20,000.

About 120,000 citizens in the city are without food, water, shelter and communication facilities.

Boychenko also gave new details Ukrainian authorities allege that Russian forces brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of the bodies of victims of the siege.

Boychenko spoke from the Ukrainian-controlled territory outside Mariupol. The mayor said he had several sources for details of alleged cremation of bodies by Russian forces in the city, but did not elaborate.

While building forces in the east, Russia continued to attack targets throughout Ukraine in an attempt to reduce the country’s security. Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday used anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles to destroy an ammunition depot and aircraft carrier in the Strokostyantiniwi region of the West Kmelnitsky region and near Kiev.

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Karmanov reported from LV in Ukraine. Associated Press writer Robert Burns in Washington and AP journalists around the world contributed to the report.

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Follow AP’s War Coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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