Igor Kirillov
© Vladimir FedorenkoThe commander Russia’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov
A facility has been found near the Donbass town of Avdeevka that was used to produce the highly toxic hydrogen cyanide, Moscow has said

Russia has found evidence that Ukraine has violated the Chemical Weapons Convention, a top military commander stated on Monday.

Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who leads Russia's chemical and biological defense forces, said engineering troops had discovered a laboratory that was apparently used to produce hydrogen cyanide - an extremely dangerous and highly toxic agent used as a chemical weapon during World War I.

The facility is located near Avdeevka, a fortified Donbass town liberated by Russia in February, the general claimed. The improvised laboratory itself was found inside a partially destroyed building in an industrial area, which also had a chemical processing plant. The facility had a rotary evaporator and several chemical reactors. Protective clothes, including US-made gas masks and Polish hazmat suits, were allegedly found at the site.

According to Kirillov, samples taken from the facility and analyzed in Russian military laboratories contained traces of sulfuric acid and sodium cyanide, which can be used to produce hydrogen cyanide. Traces of cyanide anions - poisonous chemical compounds of the cyano group - were on multiple equipment, the general claimed.

The evidence "clearly shows that the laboratory was used to manufacture poisonous substances," Kirillov stated. According to the Russian Defense Ministry's estimates, the facility was capable of producing at least 3kg of chemical agents per day if operated by just two or three people. Hydrogen cyanide can kill a person if they inhale just 70 to 80 milligrams of the agent.

During his briefing, Kirillov noted hydrogen cyanide is among the Chemical Weapons Convention's so-called "Schedule 3 chemicals" - agents with large-scale industrial uses that have the potential of being used for chemical warfare. He added that in May 2024, civilians in the Avdeevka region showed symptoms consistent with hydrogen cyanide poisoning after Ukrainian military drones dropped bombs in the area. Another case was reported in Russia's Belgorod Region, where Ukrainian ammunition fragments were found that had traces of hydrogen cyanide, Kirillov said.

He also cited a Ukrainian POW, whom he identified as Sergey Batyr, as confirming that laboratories that stored chemical agents were used to make kamikaze drones.

In March 2022, Russia accused Ukraine of running a secret biological weapons program with the help of the US. Kiev has denied having biological weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. The Pentagon has described Russia's claims as "absurd" and "laughable."