Russia accuses Ukraine of Plans to use so-called dirty bombsMoscow could use the allegation, dismissed as a false-flag operation by Kyiv and its Western allies, as a pretext for Kremlin escalation. War against his neighbor.
A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines conventional explosives such as dynamite with radioactive materials such as uranium. It is often referred to as a weapon for terrorists, not nations, as it is designed to spread fear and terror rather than destroy any military target.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s accusations, and Kiev’s foreign minister has invited UN inspectors to visit Ukraine to ensure they have “nothing to hide”.
Here’s what you need to know.
Without providing any evidence, Moscow claims that Ukraine has scientific institutes with the technology needed to build a dirty bomb – and accuses Kiev of planning to use it.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a briefing on October 24 that it had information that Kyiv was planning provocations related to the detonation of dirty bombs.
“The aim of this provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian theater of operations and thereby launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world aimed at undermining confidence in Moscow,” claimed Igor Kirillov, Russia’s head of radiation. , Chemical and Biological Defense Force.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the claim in a call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on October 23, a US official familiar with the conversation said.
The Shoigun made similar comments to his French and British counterparts.
After a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on October 25, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN told reporters that he told the council that his nation believed there were two facilities in Ukraine that were potentially working to build dirty bombs.
Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO have strongly denied the allegations by Russia, which has accused Moscow of trying to launch its own false flag operation.
“Everyone understands everything well, who is the source of everything dirty that can be imagined in this war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a night speech on October 23.
The White House said on October 24 that “we are monitoring as best we can” any possible preparations to use dirty bombs in Ukraine, but that there appears to be nothing to indicate the imminent use of such a weapon.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog said on October 24 that it would send inspectors to visit two nuclear sites in Ukraine after receiving a request to do so from authorities in Kiev.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was “aware of statements made by the Russian Federation on Sunday about alleged activity at two nuclear sites in Ukraine,” according to a news release on the agency’s website.
The IAEA did not specify the location of the two locations.
In a tweet on October 24, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
The explosion from a dirty bomb is produced by conventional explosives. A nuclear explosion is produced by nuclear reactions, such as During World War II, America dropped atomic bombs on Japan.
According to a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet, “A nuclear bomb produces an explosion that is thousands to millions of times more powerful than any conventional explosives used in dirty bombs.”
A nuclear explosion can flatten entire cities. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 destroyed 2.6 square miles (6.2 square kilometers) of the city, according to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Conventional explosives in dirty bombs can only flatten or damage certain buildings.
Meanwhile, a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion can cover tens to hundreds of square miles, spreading tiny particles of nuclear material — radioactive fallout — over that area, DHS says.
According to DHS, most of the radioactive material from a dirty bomb would be spread over a few city blocks or a few square miles.
In 1995, Chechen rebels planted but failed to detonate in a Moscow park, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
There have been reports of dirty bombs being made or attempted to be made by terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, but never detonated.
DHS says that high doses of dirty bomb radiation are unlikely to cause “immediate health effects or the death of large numbers of people.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services explains why.
Making a dirty bomb capable of delivering lethal doses of radiation would require substantial shielding of lead or steel to keep the material from killing its makers during construction, it said.
But using such shielding materials would make the bomb bulky and difficult to move or deploy, would probably require heavy equipment and remote control devices, and would limit how far the radiation could spread, according to the Texas state agency.
According to Texas Health Services, the radiation produced by the dirty bomb would result in exposure similar to that received during dental X-rays.
“It’s like breaking rocks. If someone throws a big stone at you, it might hurt and cause physical harm,” explains the department. “If they take that same rock and break it up into sand particles and then throw that sand at you, it’s significantly less likely to do you any real damage.”
According to DHS, the severity of radiation sickness is affected by exposure over time. Preventive measures can be as simple as walking.
“Even walking a short distance from the scene (of an explosion) can provide significant protection because the dose rate decreases dramatically with distance from the source,” DHS says.
People should cover their noses and mouths to avoid any radiation exposure, go indoors to avoid any dust clouds, discard their clothing in plastic bags, and then gently wash their skin to remove contaminants, DHS says.