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Kiev, May 6 – Ukraine has accused Russia of attacking the besieged city of Bakhmut with phosphorus munitions, a media report said.
In drone footage released by Ukraine’s military, Bakhmut can be seen ablaze as what appears to be white phosphorus rains down on the city, BBC reported.
White phosphorus weapons are not banned, but their use in civilian areas is considered a war crime. They create fast-spreading fires that are very difficult to put out. Russia has been accused of using them before as well.
Russia has been trying to capture Bakhmut for months, despite its questionable strategic value. Western officials have estimated that thousands of Moscow’s troops have died in the assault.
Taking to Twitter, Ukraine’s defence ministry said the phosphorus attack targeted “unoccupied areas of Bakhmut with incendiary ammunition”.
Kiev’s special forces command added that Moscow’s forces continued “to destroy the city”.
It is unclear when exactly the alleged attack took place. But the footage shared by Ukraine – seemingly captured by a surveillance drone – showed high-rise buildings engulfed in flames, BBC reported.
Other videos posted to social media showed fires raging on the ground and white clouds of phosphorus illuminating the night sky.
Russia has been accused of using white phosphorus several times since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, including during the siege of Mariupol at the beginning of the war.
Moscow has never publicly admitted to using white phosphorus, and last year Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisted that “Russia has never violated international conventions” after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said it had been used.
White phosphorus is a wax-like substance which ignites on contact with oxygen, creating bright plumes of smoke, BBC reported.