Russia has accused Ukraine of planning to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb and blame it on Moscow, international media reported.
The Defence Minister of Russia Sergei Shoigu discussed the “rapidly deteriorating situation” in the Ukraine war in calls with NATO nations on Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.
He said Ukraine could escalate the conflict with a dirty bomb — a device that uses explosives to scatter radioactive waste. It does not have the devastating effect of a nuclear explosion, but it could expose broad areas to radioactive contamination. However, Shoigu did not provide any evidence of the claims.
“The purpose of the provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian theatre of operations and thereby launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world aimed at undermining confidence in Moscow,” the RIA Novosti news agency said on Telegram.
“The calculation of the organisers of the provocation is that if it is successfully implemented, most countries will react extremely harshly to the ‘nuclear incident’ in Ukraine,” the post said. “As a result, Moscow will lose the support of many of its key partners.”
The Russia has not provided any evidence to substantiate its allegation.
Meanwhile, officials in Kyiv have immediately hit back saying Ukraine neither has any ‘dirty bombs’ nor plan to acquire any”. It added that Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves.
“If anyone can use nuclear weapons in this part of Europe — it can be only one source — and that source is the one that has ordered comrade Shoigu to telephone here or there,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video message.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “Russian lies” about a dirty bomb “are as absurd as they are dangerous”.
“Firstly, Ukraine is a committed NPT [nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] member: We neither have any ‘dirty bombs’ nor plan to acquire any,” he said. “Secondly, Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves.”