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ISW: Russia confirms use of banned chemical weapons in Kherson Oblast

The Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade published footage of itself dropping grenades containing riot control agents on Ukrainian forces, violating the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Soldiers of the 126th Territorial Defence Brigade at the front line on Ukraine’s south. Credit: Ukrainian photographers, Kostiantyn Liberov and Vlada Liberova
ISW: Russia confirms use of banned chemical weapons in Kherson Oblast

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s 810th Naval Infantry Brigade confirmed that it is using chemical weapons against Ukrainian forces, ISW said in its daily report.

Russian military violates the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which it is a party, using this kind of chemical weapon in the village of Krynky in Kherson Oblast, east bank of Dnipro River.

The Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade published a post on its Telegram channel on 22 December detailing the use of chemical weapons against Ukrainian forces. The brigade had implemented a “radical change in tactics” by “dropping K-51 grenades from drones” onto Ukrainian positions. The 810th Naval Infantry Brigade additionally published footage showing a K-51 drop on a Ukrainian position, reportedly in Krynky.

K-51 aerosol grenades contain the Riot Control agent 2-Chlorobenzalmalononitrile, commonly known as CS gas. As stated by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which Russia joined in 1997, the use of Riot Control agents in warfare is prohibited. The CWC prohibits using Riot Control agents “as a method of warfare.”

Earlier, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Russian forces previously used K-51 grenades against Ukrainian positions in Donetsk Oblast in November 2022.

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky obliquely indicated that VDV forces are under significant pressure to conduct rapid offensive operations near Bakhmut and repel Ukrainian attacks on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Teplinsky also implied that the Russian military command is deploying new VDV officers and troops promptly to the frontlines without having them complete pre-combat training.
  • A recent analysis by OSINT analyst MT Anderson confirms that while Russian forces have moved the bulk of Black Sea Fleet (BSF) assets away from occupied Sevastopol, the BSF maintains a limited naval presence in Sevastopol.
  • Russian milbloggers used the granting of Russian citizenship to Palestinian refugees on 23 December to promote the idea of Russia’s “compatriots abroad” – an oft-used Kremlin justification for its war in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces made recent confirmed advances near Kupiansk and Kreminna, northeast of Bakhmut, southwest of Donetsk City, and in the east bank of Kherson Oblast and continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact.
  • Russian occupation authorities are building out electoral infrastructure in occupied Ukraine to set conditions for the upcoming presidential election.

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