Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said on Sunday that NATO should consider intervening in the Russian invasion of Ukraine if Russia uses chemical weapons in the conflict.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney agreed with host Chuck Todd that chemical weapons should be a “red line” for NATO involvement, The Hill reported.
“I think that we in the West, the United States and NATO — we need to stop telling the Russians what we won’t do,” Cheney said. “We need to be very clear that we are considering all options, that the use of chemical weapons is certainly something that would alter our calculations.”
Cheney also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already demonstrated that his military is not as powerful as the world once believed it to be, adding that even Putin wasn’t truly aware of the Russian army’s true capabilities and limitations.
“And they need to understand that if the brutality here increases, the United States will contemplate and consider every possible range of actions along with our NATO allies,” she continued.
Cheney added that Russia needs to understand “we will contemplate changing the calculation in terms of humanitarian challenges and the humanitarian devastation the Ukrainian people are facing.”
Cheney’s comments echo those of Polish President Andrzej Duda, who previously said the use of chemical weapons by Russia would be a “game changer.”
Earlier this month, Duda told BBC television, “If he uses any weapons of mass destruction then this will be a game changer in the whole thing.”
“For sure, the North Atlantic Alliance and its leaders led by the United States will have to sit at the table and they will really have to think seriously what to do because then it starts to be dangerous,” Duda added.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia may use chemical weapons in its invasion of Ukraine, noting that to do so would be a war crime.
“In recent days, we have heard absurd claims about chemical and biological weapons laboratories,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the Kremlin was contriving false causes to justify aggressive action.
“Now that these false claims have been made, we must remain vigilant because it is possible that Russia itself could plan chemical weapons operations under this fabrication of lies. That would be a war crime,” he said.
President Joe Biden’s administration warned that Russia may use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine after a top U.S. diplomat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Ukraine has labs which the U.S. is working to keep out of Russian control. At the same time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Ukraine of operating chemical and biological weapons labs with the help of the United States.