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Editorial: Russia's use of chemical weapons in Ukraine will not be tolerated

U.S. President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. and Europe would respond if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.

    The leaders of the U.S., Europe and Japan all met in Belgium, and emergency meetings of the G-7 and NATO were held.

    The nations' leaders strongly criticized Russia's indiscriminate attacks on hospitals and evacuation centers where civilians were taking shelter, and confirmed that they would provide swift relief for serious humanitarian damage.

    What is of concern now is the possible use of chemical weapons. The longer the invasion continues, the weaker traditional conventional military forces become, and the U.S. and Europe fear that the Russian military will use chemical weapons to break the deadlock. This cannot be permitted.

    In an online speech given to the Japanese Diet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "Russia is preparing chemical weapon attacks using sarin and other substances."

    The Putin administration has not been shy about using such weapons in the past. It has used nerve agents to eliminate its political adversaries, and supported the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which used nerve gas in the Syrian civil war.

    NATO made the decision to provide Ukraine with equipment for detecting chemicals, protecting people from them and decontamination, as well as medical equipment. It is keeping an eye out on threats possibly spilling over to NATO's member states, and is said to have instructed its chemical protection unit to be prepared.

    Chemical weapons are egregious in their inhumane nature. They inflict great pain on the human body, and make people lose the will to fight. Their use is banned under international law.

    More than anything else, it is important to stop Russia from using such atrocious weapons.

    The fact that the U.S. and Europe explicitly exhibited their intentions to retaliate if such weapons are used will have a deterrent effect on Russia to some degree. They have not ruled out military retaliation.

    The international community must also take a firm stance. It must maintain its solidarity and continue to apply pressure on Russia together.

    Weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and nuclear weapons, which bring about extensive damage, change the face of war. Subsequently, damage lingers for a long time.

    The Putin administration has placed a unit in charge of nuclear weapons on high alert, making it clear that it will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if it faces a situation in which Russia's survival is at stake.

    The horrors of weapons of mass destruction are becoming increasingly realistic. Once they are used, they cannot be taken back. We must not put humankind and civilization at risk.

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