The Russian Federation will on Tuesday raise the disputed claim that Ukraine is preparing to use a so-called “dirty bomb” on its own soil as a provocation, urging the United Nations Chief, Antonio Guterres, to do all in his power to prevent a heinous crime from taking place.
A dirty bomb is a weapon in which a conventional explosive device is laced with radioactive material like uranium that scatters in the immediate vicinity when the device explodes.
But the assertion has been rejected by Ukraine and Western powers as transparently false, arguing rather that the world would see through any attempt to use the allegation as a pretext for further escalation.
In a letter seen by SABC News to the Security Council, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia says Russia would regard the use of a dirty bomb by Kyiv as an act of nuclear terrorism.
FM @DmytroKuleba: “#Ukraine is a dedicated and responsible member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We have never had, don’t have, and don’t plan to develop any dirty bombs. We have invited IAEA experts to Ukraine so that all Russian falsehoods can be swiftly refuted”. pic.twitter.com/qz2BZCIBpq
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) October 25, 2022
Russia’s letter to the Council says Ukraine’s reckless provocations would lead to large scale radiological contamination, suggesting Kyiv planned to camouflage the explosion of a dirty bomb as a detonation of a Russian low-yield nuclear warhead that contained highly enriched Uranium, while urging western countries to exert their influence on Ukraine to abandon its so-called “dangerous plan”.
Russian Commander of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence General, Igor Kirillov, says, “The provocation pursues a purpose to accuse Russia of using the weapons of mass destruction on the Ukrainian theatre of war. It will trigger worldwide a massive anti-Russian campaign aimed to undermine the trust in Moscow. According to the information we possess, two Ukrainian institutions are commissioned to build a so called “dirty bomb”. The works are in the final stage now.”
A rare joint statement from the Governments of the United States, France and the United Kingdom rejected the Russian claims as a pretext for further escalation from Moscow, after defence ministers engaged their Russian counterpart over the weekend.
“We’ve been very clear with the world, publicly, with the world, privately, with the Russians about the severe consequences that would result from nuclear use. Again, to Matt’s question, I’m not going to weigh in on every conceivable hypothetical. It would certainly be another example of President Putin’s brutality if he were to use a so-called dirty bomb. There would be consequences for Russia, whether it uses a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb. We’ve been very clear about that.” says State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy says only Russia is capable of using nuclear weapons in Europe.
He elaborates, “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means only one thing. Russia has already prepared all this. I believe that now the world should react as harshly as possible. If Russia prepares to raise the stakes again and prepares another escalating step, it must see, preemptively and before any new dirt of its own, that the world will not swallow it now.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it’s preparing to send inspectors to two Ukrainian sites at their invitation after Russia’s letter identified two sites as developing a dirty bomb.
Escalation of devastating conflict
The U.N. Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric also weighs in, “We have no way of knowing one way or another, but I can tell you that our position as… on this issue, as many others, is that all parties should avoid any actions that could lead to miscalculation and escalation of what’s already a devastating conflict.”
Russia’s letter to the Council states that amidst the anti-Russian propaganda campaign led by Western countries, it stressed that it doesn’t intend to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, arguing that there has been no reference to the possibility of their use – either by the leadership of Russia or its Ministry of Defence. For the record, President Vladimir Putin said in September said that in the event of a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity, that they would certainly make use of all weapon systems available to them and that “this was not a bluff”.