Russia has been accused of using a “filthy” chemical bomb on civilians that was referred to by the Nazis as a “flaming onion” and inflicts “indescribable suffering”.
The phosphous bomb’s signature is a loud bang and a plume of bright white smoke, but its effects are felt most when long white streams carrying chemicals start falling from the sky.
It comes as Russia bombs a military base in western Ukraine that sits just 11 kilometres from the border with Poland where NATO forces are stationed.
If fighting enters Poland, as is feared, the United States would almost certainly be drawn into the war directly.
“That would be an attack on the United States,” US Congressman Brendan Boyle said.
No-fly zone over Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned NATO and the West that Russian missiles could target their countries if NATO does not impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Mr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for NATO to impose a no-fly zone to stop Russian aircraft from flying over Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders have rejected the idea, saying it could force NATO jet fighters to shoot down Russian aircraft, risking World War III between the nuclear-armed superpowers.
“And now I repeat, again: If you do not close our skies, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, on the territory of NATO and on the homes of citizens of NATO countries,” Mr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Monday.
Mr Zelenskyy referenced the killing of American journalist Brent Renaud, who was reportedly shot and killed by Russian forces in the town of Irpin, north-west of Kyiv.
Another journalist was wounded in the attack.
“It was a deliberate attack by the Russian military. They knew what they were doing, but not everyone in the West seems to know what they’re doing,” Mr Zelenskyy said.
Russia closing in on Poland
Russian missiles have hit a large Ukrainian base near the border with NATO member Poland, in an escalation of the war in the west of the country.
The attack killed 35 people and wounded 134, according to regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy.
Russia’s defence ministry said Sunday’s airstrike had destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by foreign nations that were being stored at the sprawling training facility, and that it had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries”.
The attack on the Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security — a training base just 25 kilometres from the Polish border that has previously hosted NATO military instructors — brought the conflict to the doorstep of the Western defence alliance.
On Saturday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister had warned that convoys of Western arms shipments to Ukraine could be considered legitimate targets.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS that any attack on NATO territory would trigger a full response by the alliance.
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