UK very concerned about potential use of chemical weapons in Ukraine - Truss

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss holds a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S., March 9, 2022. Jim Watson/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Britain is very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons by Russia in Ukraine, British foreign minister Liz Truss told CNN, warning that it would be a grave mistake for Russian President Vladimir Putin to use them.

Russia's war in Ukraine entered a third week with none of its stated objectives reached, despite thousands of people killed, more than two million made refugees and thousands cowering in besieged cities under relentless bombardment. read more

"We are very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons," Truss said.

"We have seen Russia use these weapons before in fields of conflict, but that would be a grave mistake on the part of Russia, adding to the grave mistakes already being made by Putin."

The comments come a day after the United States denied renewed Russian accusations that Washington was operating biowarfare labs in Ukraine. It called the claims "laughable" and suggested Moscow may be laying the groundwork to use a chemical or biological weapon. read more

Earlier on Thursday, Britain's armed forces minister James Heappey was asked whether the use of chemical weapons might cross a 'red line' that led to cause NATO members becoming involved in the conflict.

"I don't think it is helpful to get into any firm commitment right now about where that red line sits, but I think President Putin needs to be very clear that when other countries have used chemical weapons it has caused an international response," he told BBC radio.

"I think he (Putin) should reflect very urgently on what has happened to other countries where they have used this."

Reporting by Muvija, editing by William James and Michael Holden

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.