Western countries reject Russia’s claims of ‘dirty bomb’ in Ukraine


Officials in Kyiv and several Western countries have denied the Kremlin’s unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine planned to use a “dirty bomb” – an explosive weapon designed to disperse radioactive material – on its territory, describing it as a Russian attempt to manufacture An excuse for an escalation of the conflict.

“We all reject Russia’s clearly false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use dirty bombs on its own territory,” the foreign ministers of the United States, France and Britain said in a joint statement on Sunday after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued a statement. express. Made unfounded claims in conversations with defense ministers.

“The world will see through any attempt to use this accusation as an excuse for escalation,” the Western diplomat added.

Shoigu told defense officials on Sunday that he was concerned that “Ukraine could use a ‘dirty bomb’ for provocation,” according to a summary of the call from Shoigu released by the Russian Defense Ministry, noting that the situation in Ukraine “is developing rapidly.” deterioration. “

Ukrainian officials immediately rejected Shoigu’s claims and accused Russia of making false threats to justify its escalating attacks on Ukrainian soil.Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said he extended the formal invitation U.N. nuclear inspectors independently determined Ukraine had “nothing to hide”.

The Washington Post was unable to verify either party’s claims. “It is unlikely that the Kremlin is preparing for an imminent false-flag dirty bomb attack,” the War Institute said. Instead, the think tank noted, “Shoigu may be trying to slow or suspend Western military aid to Ukraine and potentially weaken the NATO alliance.”

The incident has sharply eased Western and Ukrainian fears of a Russian nuclear attack as the conflict reached an eight-month mark on Monday and growing frustration within Russia as officials initially envisaged a quick solution that is turning into a protracted and costly one High conflict.

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For many, it also raises the question: What is a dirty bomb?

Dirty bombs are made of conventional explosives and radioactive materials and are designed to disperse the material after an explosion. They are not nuclear weapons and bear no resemblance to the atomic bombs used by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Dirty bombs are far less powerful: Their “radiation can be spread over a few blocks or miles of the blast,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

As the department points out, the explosive material in a dirty bomb is more likely to harm humans than the radioactive material it carries. It explained that the purpose of using dirty bombs may not be to maximize damage, but to try to “create fear and panic, contaminate property, and possibly require expensive cleanup”.

Ukraine is at a turning point in a rapidly escalating conflict

Shoigu claimed that Ukraine would be particularly sensitive to the use of dirty bombs because Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994 in exchange for assurances from Russia that it would not attack Ukraine.

Russia’s claim comes as analysts say the war in Ukraine has entered a new chapter – with Russia facing several military losses, including Ukrainian loot in the south and the explosion of the Crimea bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia damage.

Moscow retaliated forcefully, with a massive strike on the Ukrainian capital and its energy infrastructure ahead of winter. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has faced mounting criticism at home as more war propagandists complain about a lack of progress and thousands of Russian men have fled their country to avoid being caught Forced to fight in Ukraine.

The setback in the invasion of Ukraine led to an increase in Russia’s nuclear threat, echoing Cold War events such as the little-known 1983 nuclear crisis. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

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Against this backdrop, Putin threatened to use “all available means” to defend Russian-occupied territory. “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction… When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, in order to protect Russia and our people, we will definitely use all means at our disposal,” Putin said on September 9. Say. 21. “This is not a bluff.”

Shortly thereafter, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, wrote on Telegram that “Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary.” But he said Russia would only do so in “predetermined circumstances” set out in its nuclear policy document.

CIA Director William Burns told CBS News last month that it was difficult to assess how serious Putin was about the possible use of nuclear weapons. He said the U.S. intelligence community had not seen “any actual evidence” of an “imminent threat.” However, he said the United States should take the comments “very seriously.”

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U.S. officials previously told The Washington Post that the U.S. has been privately warning Russia’s leadership of the dire consequences of using nuclear weapons for months. More concrete announcements from Moscow appear to have recently sounded alarm bells in Western countries and Ukraine.

When asked about Putin’s nuclear threat, the colonel said. “We are and should be worried,” Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, told ABC News in an interview released Monday.

Karen DeYoung, Paul Sonne and John Hudson contributed to this report.

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