CNN’s Sullivan said the attack in western Ukraine on Sunday shows that Putin “is frustrated by the fact that his forces are not making the kind of progress that he thought that they would make against major cities, including Kyiv.”
Sullivan suggested that as observers are seeing “that he is expanding the number of targets, that he is lashing out and that he is trying to cause damage in every part of the country.”
As Sullivan said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, whenever Russia accuses another country of preparing chemical or biological attacks, “it’s a good tell that they may be on the cusp of doing it themselves.”
China is under fire for spreading false Russian claims that Ukraine operates chemical and biological weapons labs with US assistance, according to the White House. Yang Jiechi, a senior Chinese foreign policy adviser, will meet with Sullivan in Rome on Monday to discuss the Ukraine situation.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also warned that Russia could employ chemical weapons in Ukraine on Saturday. In an interview with Welt am Sonntag, Stoltenberg said such an attack would constitute a war crime.
“In recent days, we have heard absurd claims about chemical and biological weapons laboratories,” Stoltenberg said. “We must remain vigilant because it is possible that Russia itself could plan chemical weapons operations under this fabrication of lies. That would be a war crime.”
Russian attacks in Ukraine that cross borders and hit NATO members may face a response from NATO, Sullivan said on Sunday.
In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said President Joe Biden “has been clear repeatedly that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory and that means every inch.”
In the event of an attack on NATO territories, Sullivan argued that NATO Article 5 would be invoked. That requires other countries in NATO to come to the defense of the attacked nation. “We will bring the full force of the NATO alliance to bear in responding,” he said.
According to him, NATO will respond even if a Russian shot accidentally hits NATO territory.
The US government will consult with the Ukrainians to determine how the death of an American journalist in Kyiv occurred, Sullivan told CBS News on Sunday. The US government will then “apply appropriate measures.”
“This is part and parcel of what has been a brazen aggression on the part of the Russians,” he said, “where they have targeted civilians, they have targeted hospitals, they have targeted places of worship, and they have targeted journalists.”
Russia is using the UN Security Council meeting to spread disinformation about its conduct in the war in Ukraine, the United States warned. The US also said Moscow may use chemical or biological weapons as the conflict enters its third week.
“We believe Russia could use chemical or biological agents for assassinations, as part of a staged or false flag incident, or to support tactical military operations,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at a Security Council meeting on Friday.
In requesting the emergency meeting, Russia sought to blunt criticism it had been facing for days that its claims of a chemical weapons and bioweapons program backed by the US are false.
“Western colleagues are going to be saying now that all of this information is fake and Russian propaganda,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said. “But this is self-delusion.”
Thomas-Greenfield claims the US has long supported medical research to counter disease outbreaks, despite UN officials claiming to have no evidence of such facilities.
“These facilities make it possible to detect and diagnose diseases like COVID-19, which benefit us all,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“The United States has assisted Ukraine to do this safely and securely. This is work that has been done proudly, clearly, and out in the open.”
American and European officials could have rallied against the Russian request for the hearing, but they suggested that it would be better to have a more open debate.
Russian critics said Moscow used the UN Security Council as a symbolic platform to promote unsubstantiated claims at an international forum where it had been largely isolated during the weeks before the war.
“The Council should not be served with fantasies or starry-eyed stories but with proof, independently-verified and corroborated,” Albania’s UN ambassador, Ferit Hoxha, said. “This is not the case.”
Russia’s claims have received some support from China, which said they should be addressed properly. And the country’s ambassador, Zhang Jun, rejected US charges that Beijing spreads disinformation.
US biological research institutions are supported or maintained worldwide, he said. He urged Moscow and Kyiv to accelerate diplomatic efforts.
“What is most needed now continues to be to intensify diplomatic efforts, reduce tension and bring the Ukrainian issue back to the track of a political settlement as soon as possible,” Zhang said.
She did not cite specific evidence to support her claim that Russia might be preparing a false-flag event that would serve as a pretext for the use of chemical or biological weapons.
Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly used chemical weapons, and its alleged poisoning of dissidents abroad provide support for American claims, she continued.
“From the beginning, our strategy to counter Russia’s tactics has been to share what we know with the world transparently,
” Thomas-Greenfield said. “And candidly, we have been right more often than we’d like.”
Despite accusations that it poisons dissidents, Russia calls the Ukrainian and NATO aggressors in the Ukraine war.
Nebenzia responded to criticism from other envoys by disputing reports that a maternity hospital in Mariupol was damaged by a Russian missile strike by calling the claim fake news and saying Ukrainians mined their own hospital to harm Moscow.
“We’re not going to give more air time to the lies you’re hearing here,” Thomas-Greenfield said in response.