(Reuters) – Russia’s Defense Ministry on Saturday accused Ukraine of poisoning some of its troops in late July in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporozhye region.
The Ministry of the Interior responded that the alleged poisoning may have been caused by the consumption of expired canned meat by the Russian army.
On July 31, several Russian soldiers were taken to a military hospital with signs of severe poisoning, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Tests revealed that they contained the toxic substance botulinum toxin type B.
“Regarding the facts of chemical terrorism sanctioned by the regime of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky, Russia is preparing supporting evidence for all the results of the analysis,” the ministry said in a statement Say.
It did not say how many soldiers suffered and what their current condition was. It doesn’t say what “supporting evidence” is.
Botulinum toxin type B is a neurotoxin that can cause botulism when ingested in previously contaminated food, but it also has medical uses.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, but Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko commented on Russia’s allegations against the Telegram messaging app.
“The ministry (Russian Ministry of Defense) did not clarify whether the poisoning was caused by expired canned meat, in which botulinum toxin is often found. Since the first day of the invasion of Ukraine, the occupying forces have Lots of complaints about overdue rations,” he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it was conducting an additional investigation into an incident where Volodymyr Sardo, the administration set up by Russia in the Ukrainian-occupied Kherson region, fell ill.
Sardo, former mayor of Kherson, was appointed head of the district of the same name while serving in Russia. The army occupied it in early March and fell ill in early August.
Russia said its “special military operation” launched on February 24 was aimed at demilitarizing Ukraine and protecting what Russian President Vladimir Putin said was a historic Russia land.
Ukraine and Western countries see this as an unprovoked war of conquest aimed at eradicating Ukrainian national identity.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Timothy Estate)