Watch: Ukrainians prepare for Russian chemical attacks

The Ukrainian military has begun preparing its soldiers for chemical attacks after accusing Russia of ramping up its illegal use of tear gas on the battlefield.

Riot control agents are banned in combat zones by the Chemical Weapons Convention, but Ukraine has claimed Russia is unlawfully using the chemical compounds to clear trenches and facilitate their advances in the East.

Colonel Serhii Pakhomov, acting head of the military’s atomic, biological and chemical defence forces, said Ukraine’s military had recorded 1,400 instances of the agents being used since Russia’s invasion in Feb 2022.

The military leader reported that 900 of these had occurred in the past six months, with soldiers now being provided with gas masks and training to ensure they are prepared in the event of a chemical attack.

He said: “Substances designed to disperse demonstrations are [being] used against our troops. In addition to demoralisation, the person loses physical ability – he can’t see, he can’t breathe, everything is irritated.

“Yes, it is temporary, but it is the very moment the enemy can use to take over this position or another.”

‘500 troops required medical assistance’

Ukraine’s military has previously alleged that Russian forces also used chloropicrin against their soldiers, a chemical compound deployed in the First World War.

The agent has an irritating effect and shares many of the characteristics of a tear gas, but when heated, it can decompose and release toxic gases, including phosgene.

Mr Pakhomov claimed that 500 Ukrainian troops have required medical assistance after exposure to toxic substances on the battlefield and that at least one soldier had died from suffocation.

A Telegraph investigation revealed earlier this month that a number of Ukrainian soldiers on the front line alleged they were coming under chemical attacks from Russian drones on a near-daily basis.

Riot control agents can include a number of different chemical compounds.

They work by irritating the eye, airway and digestive mucosal membranes, causing those who come into contact with them to be temporarily incapacitated.

They may induce dizziness and vomiting, while long-lasting exposure can result in blindness, respiratory failure or fatal chemical burns.