Russia doubles down on ‘false’ dirty bomb claim with UN, West decries it as pretext to war escalation


Russia on Tuesday will bring its allegations to the United Nations that Ukraine is preparing to use a “dirty bomb” within its own borders despite dismissals from Kyiv and Western allies that this claim is false.

Moscow, after first sending a letter to the U.N. Monday, is expected to address the Security Council in a closed-door meeting later Tuesday regarding its claims, first reported Reuters. 

“We will regard the use of the dirty bomb by the Kyiv regime as an act of nuclear terrorism,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reportedly told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council in the letter.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Moscow’s claim was a signal that Russia is planning to use such a weapon and will pin it on Ukrainian forces as they look to retake territory Russia has illegally occupied since February. 

The U.S., U.K. and France – all of whom sit as permanent members on the U.N. Security Council – rejected Russia’s claims as “transparently false.”

“The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation,” the trio said in a joint statement. “We further reject any pretext for escalation by Russia.”

A dirty bomb, a primitive device that has not yet been recorded as being used in Ukraine, detonates using a conventional explosive like dynamite but is paired with radioactive materials. 

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The weaponry is notoriously primitive and imprecise but comes amid Russian threats to escalate the war in Ukraine by using nuclear weapons. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his forces would deploy nuclear weapons if Russian territory was threatened – which includes land it illegally seized and annexed.

“It’s absurd and absolutely fake,” Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov told Fox News. “They are trying to organize the next kind of pretext for using, by their side, some kind of nuclear threat.”

Reznikov said he is not overly concerned that Russia will actually deploy a dirty bomb and said he believes it is another false flag operation by Moscow to sow disorder and fear. 

Neither the Biden administration nor its allies have said what will happen if Russia does use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine but have warned the consequences will be severe.

“I hope that they get the signal that it will be not just a stupid step, it will be [the] last step of this regime in the world,” Reznikov added. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Russia on Tuesday is expected to bring its “false” allegations surrounding a dirty bomb in Ukraine to the United Nations Security Council.

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