Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West to impose harsher sanctions on Russia and said that Ukraine is closely monitoring the threat of chemical weapons in Mariupol.

Eduard Basurin, the Kremlin-backed Donetsk region’s spokesperson, said on Russian TV on Monday, “What is Azovstal? It is a plant built back in Soviet times. There is a lot or concrete, iron, there are many underground floors. So it makes no sense to take this facility by storm. Therefore, at the moment it is necessary to deal with the blocking of this plant, find all the exits and entrances. In principle, this can be done.”

The Azovstal complex is an iron and steel factory that Russia has not been able to take over.

“And after that, to turn, I think, to the chemical troops, who will find a way to smoke moles out of their holes,” he added.

“One of the Russian occupiers’ speakers said that they might use chemical weapons against our defenders in Mariupol,” Zelensky responded in his Monday night address.

“We take it very seriously,” he added.

There was also a social media posting alleging that Russia had already used chemical weapons in Mariupol, but the claims have not been confirmed.

Zelensky also called out Russia for more war crimes, reiterated his request to European leaders to ban Russian oil and asked for more supplies.

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