Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Ukraine plans to use a “dirty bomb” on its own territory to frame Russia for the attack — the latest in a recent series of Kremlin claims, made without any evidence, that Kyiv is planning such an act.
A so-called dirty bomb is not an atomic weapon as it doesn’t generate an explosion using nuclear fission, but rather causes a conventional explosion to contaminate the surrounding area with radioactive material.
As the dirty bomb rhetoric escalated in recent days, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia itself might be preparing the so-called false flag attack, as Western countries unconditionally reject Moscow’s claims about Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu began the Kremlin charade on Sunday, telling his counterparts from the U.K., France and Turkey in a series of phone calls that Kyiv was preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device.
On Monday, Russia’s Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov echoed the allegation that Kyiv is “planning to commit a provocation by exploding the so-called dirty bomb or low-power nuclear warhead”.
On Tuesday, Russia then sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council accusing Ukraine of preparing to use the dirty bomb on its own territory, without providing any evidence publicly. After the council met behind closed doors, the British ambassador to the U.N. rejected the claim, saying it was “transparently false,” and adding that “we have seen and heard no new evidence during this private meeting”.
On Wednesday, Shoygu reiterated the claims in calls with the Chinese and Indian defense ministers.
Allied countries have repeatedly dismissed the Russian allegations, with British, French and American foreign ministers saying Monday that, “Our countries made clear that we all reject Russia’s transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory”.
Zelenskyy also hit back Sunday at the Russian accusations, warning that, “if Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this”.
The Kremlin’s accusations are not entirely new. In 2015, Moscow accused Kyiv of implementing “nuclear programs to create either nuclear weapons or a ‘dirty bomb’” that would turn the country “into a rogue state”.