WATCH: U.S. ‘concerned’ Russia will use chemical weapons in Ukraine, State Department spokesman says

The United States is concerned that Russia may still use chemical weapons in its weeks-long campaign in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.

“We are concerned, as we’ve said before, that Russia may seek to resort to chemical weapons,” Price said during a press briefing. “Russia has a track record. Russia has used these agents on their own people.”

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Western leaders warned even before Russian troops moved into Ukraine that Russia could resort to unconventional weapons there, particularly chemical agents.

READ MORE: As Russian attack grinds on, Ukraine refugees’ hopes of a quick return home wanes

A Russia-allied separatist official, Eduard Basurin, appeared to urge their use Monday, telling Russian state TV that Russian-backed forces should seize a giant metals plant in Mariupol from Ukrainian forces by first blocking all the exits out of the factory.

“And then we’ll use chemical troops to smoke them out of there,” he said.

Over 4 million Ukrainians have become refugees as they fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion. Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been forced to flee, and the United Nations has verified the deaths of 142 youngsters, though the number is almost certainly much higher, the U.N. children’s agency said Monday.

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