Radioactive threat from Kiev persists – Moscow
The risk of Kiev attempting to build a so-called ‘dirty bomb’ remains, a senior Russian diplomat has said. The Russian military has claimed previously that Ukraine was making an explosive device meant to spread radioactive contamination.
“Ukraine has the potential necessary to make a ‘dirty bomb,’ it doesn’t take much effort. Especially since Ukraine has been a nation advanced in nuclear technology since the Soviet times, [and] has many technologies and expertise,” Mikhail Ulyanov told journalists on Wednesday, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
The diplomat heads the Russian mission to UN agencies based in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog. He was giving a year-end press conference via video link.
General Igor Kirillov, the commander of the Russian military branch responsible for protecting troops from weapons of mass destruction, claimed in October that Kiev was “at the final stage” of producing a dirty bomb. Ukraine and its Western backers dismissed the allegation, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba calling it part of a Russian propaganda campaign.
The IAEA sent inspectors to a handful of sites in Ukraine at the invitation of its government. They found no undeclared activity there, the agency reported in November. Kiev has stated that the UN agency exonerated it from the Russian accusations.
Ulyanov maintained that the danger persists. “Somebody at the IAEA told us that Ukraine actually has as many as 5,000 sites, where they could potentially build the bomb,” he explained, without identifying the source of the information.
A ‘dirty bomb’ is a conventional explosive device covered by radioactive material. When detonated, it spreads contamination in the area, posing a significant health hazard. The potential that such a weapon could be used in terrorism is one of the reasons why radioactive isotopes are tightly controlled by the IAEA and national governments.