US President Joe Biden has said that NATO "would respond" if Russia uses chemical weapons – arms that use chemicals to cause death or harm through their toxic properties. Meanwhile, the White House has reportedly drawn up some contingency plans in the event that Putin uses the country’s stockpiles of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
At a press conference on Thursday, Biden was asked whether the US would respond with military action if Putin did use chemical weapons, to which he responded: “We would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”
However, he refused to comment on whether the US had any intelligence on whether Russia is considering the use of these weapons.
The use of chemical and biological weapons in war is banned under the Geneva Protocol, signed in 1925. One of the main drivers of the prohibition was the horrific use of chemical weapons in the First World War. However, the protocol does not ban the development, production, or stockpiling of chemical weapons.
The US is also looking at plans to deal with Russia's potential use of nuclear weapons. The New York Times reports that the White House has put together a team of national security officials, dubbed “the Tiger Team,” to draw up scenarios of how the US and its allies could respond to Russia using nuclear weapons.
As per Reuters, the strategy team is also looking into how Russia may attack US security convoys or disrupt global food supply chains, as well as how to respond to the growing refugee crisis.