Ukrainian ‘dirty bomb’ threat is real – Kremlin
There is a clear danger that Ukraine might use a “dirty bomb” during its conflict with Moscow, the Kremlin has said. The statement came after the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Kiev wanted to resort to weapons of mass destruction in order to frame Russia.
A so-called dirty bomb is usually understood to be a conventional munition containing radioactive material.
“Their distrust of the information that has been relayed by the Russian side does not mean that the threat of the use of such a ‘dirty bomb’ ceases to exist. The threat is evident,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told reporters on Monday.
Peskov added that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had recently informed several foreign governments about the matter, but it is ultimately “their business, whether to believe it or not.”
Shoigu warned his British, French, and Turkish counterparts on Sunday about “a potential Ukrainian provocation” involving a dirty bomb. He also spoke over the phone with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow’s allegations are “not empty words.” He claimed that reports about a radioactive weapon have been verified, and Russia will bring its concerns before the UN.
Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, the commander of Russia’s radiological, chemical, and biological protection troops, claimed at a briefing the same day that Ukraine plans to detonate a dirty bomb or a low-yield nuclear bomb in order to frame Russia. He added that Kiev is “at the final stage” of making a dirty bomb. Kirillov also stated that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office had contacts with British authorities “on the issue of potentially acquiring the technology for nuclear weapons.”
Ukraine has three operational nuclear power plants, but no atomic weapons or programs to acquire them.
Zelensky rejected Moscow’s claims and accused Russia of threatening the world with nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said reports about a dirty bomb are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Kuleba added on Monday that he had spoken to Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and invited him to dispatch inspectors to Ukrainian nuclear sites. “He agreed. Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide,” Kuleba tweeted.
In early September, Grossi led an international team of experts who visited the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest, which sits on the frontline between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Kiev and Moscow have accused each other of shelling the facility.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke to Kuleba over the phone on Monday, dismissed Russia’s allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb as false.