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.
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.