When a Russian spokesperson got up on a stage in Moscow on Wednesday and warned of a “biological weapons program” in Ukraine, combatants on another battlefield – Syria – knew exactly what she meant.
Russia’s war in Ukraine bears many similarities to Syria’s conflict. Claims that the insurgents utilised chemical weapons were a ready-made smear for the United Kingdom and NATO. In Syria, any accusation of rebels using chemical weapons was taken seriously. The only surprise has been how ineffective Russia’s military forces have been – happily. Even in its infancy, Russia’s war in Ukraine bears many similarities to Syria’s conflict: barely contained violence, mass flight of scared population, and wanton damage.