Britain and NATO could send troops into Ukraine if it's proved Russia has used chemical weapons, minister warns Putin

BRITAIN and its Western allies could deploy troops to Ukraine if it's proven Russia has used chemical weapons, a minister said today.

Armed forces minister James Heappey said "all possible options are on the table in terms of how the West might respond".

He was responding to unverified reports Kremlin forces have launched a biological attack in their long-running siege of Mariupol.

Last night Ukrainian MP Ivanna Klympush revealed an "unknown substance" had been used and "victims experience respiratory failure".

She said it was "most likely" a chemical weapon, adding: "This is red line beyond which the world must destroy the economy of despotism."

Mr Heappey said the unleashing of biological warfare by Moscow would be "beyond the pale" and cross a "red line" for the West.

Asked if it could spark deploying NATO forces, he replied: "It depends on what is done, that the response would therefore be proportionate."

Pressed further on whether the UK would rule out sending in troops, he added: "No. All options are on the table."

He added that "there's real value in some ambiguity as to what the response would be" to keep Putin on his toes.

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And he said the UK and other likeminded partners could intervene even if the Alliance doesn't respond to such an attack.

He said: "It's not for any government minister from an individual country to pledge Nato involvement.

"It's perfectly possible that a response to chemical weapons use could happen outwith Nato."

His remarks came as foreign secretary Liz Truss said the UK and allies are "working urgently" to establish what has happened in Mariupol.

She vowed: "Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account."

Marines who have been bravely holding out against the Russian siege for almost two months are said to be running low on ammunition.

Mr Heappey, a former Major in the British Army, said they had shown "amazing heroism" comparable to the defence of Calais during WW2.

He also revealed Ukrainian soldiers will arrive in the UK "in the next few days" to be trained in how to use our armoured vehicles.

No 10 is providing Kyiv with 120 troop carriers including Mastiffs to help in its counter-attack against Russian forces.

The UK has already shipped hundreds of millions of pounds worth of lethal kit that is being used to decimate the Kremlin army.


Yesterday a clip emerged of Ukrainian troops yelling "thank you Britain" as they used a laser-guided Martlet missile to down a Russian drone.

Mr Heappey said it was not the first such instance of the weapon being successfully used against Moscow's air force.

N-LAW rocket launchers have been making mincemeat of Russian tanks, and No 10 is now sending Harpoon anti-ship missiles too.

He said: "The best way for the Russians to avoid getting shot down or having their tank blown up is to get out of Ukraine."

The armed forces minister predicted there's now a very real possibility Kyiv will win the war against demoralised Kremlin troops.

He said the Ukrainians have already wiped out most of Russia's best troops and the next wave sent in will be less well trained and equipped.

Mr Heappey said as a result the armies are now "well-matched" adding that the defenders are well dug in.

And he said Putin's arrogance in wanting to wrap up the war ahead of an annual WW1 victory day parade on May 9 will cause further problems.

It will mean his troops have to try and make advances during the Spring, when they will face the infamous mud of eastern Ukraine.

That will force their supply trucks and tanks into long columns onto narrow roads, allowing Ukrainian troops to pick them off from land and air.

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