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MOSCOW, September 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Reports about the use of white phosphorus bombs by Kiev in the embattled south-eastern regions of Ukraine need to be investigated, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Konstantin Dolgov said on Monday.
As an incendiary weapon, white phosphorus burns fiercely and can ignite cloth, fuel, ammunition and other combustibles. Its use against civilian population and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas is prohibited by international conventions and agreements and is considered a crime.
“Information about these crimes, backed up by abundant evidence, must be investigated most thoroughly and those responsible must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Dolgov said. He said this would concern not only white phosphorus bombs but “also other prohibited weapons used by the Ukrainian army”.
The use of these weapons must entail serious penalties since Ukraine is a party of a number of relevant international agreements and conventions, the diplomat said. “This is an egregious violation of international law, international humanitarian law,” he said.
Ukraine uses prohibited weapons in combat
The prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, said in August he had evidence proving that the Ukrainian army was using prohibited weapons, specifically white phosphorus bombs.
White phosphorus bombs were used in the town of Mospino outside Donetsk, he said.
The DPR Mission in Moscow said the Ukrainian army had used cluster bombs stuffed with “an unknown chemical compound”. “We sent samples to Donetsk for examination and will announce the findings when we get them,” the mission said.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin earlier urged the international community to react to the use of prohibited ammunition in Ukraine. He spoke specifically of projectiles with white phosphorus used by the Ukrainian army.
“We think that the international community should pay attention to the use by Ukraine of prohibited ammunition in combat. This happened before, and we are very much concerned about this,” he said.