US, UK Blast Russian Official's Dirty Bomb Claims as 'False'

Nation's defense minister alleges Ukraine has plans to use dirty bomb, which Ukraine refutes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2022 6:29 AM CDT
US, UK Blast Russian Official's Dirty Bomb Claims as 'False'
In this photo, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during a meeting in Moscow on Oct. 4.   (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

A phone call over the weekend between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterpart in Russia, Sergei Shoigu, resulted in an alarming assertion from the latter. A US administration official says that Shoigu told Austin, who'd also talked to Shoigu on Friday for the first time in months, that Ukraine was planning on using a "dirty bomb"—a mixture of conventional explosives and radioactive material—in Russian-controlled areas there. It's a claim that Shoigu also apparently repeated to UK, French, and Turkish officials, and one that Western nations and Ukraine are now slamming as a false flag designed to give Russia the green light to escalate its invasion there. The accusation came with zero evidence from Shoigu to bolster it, notes the BBC.

In a statement to CNN, a US National Security Council spokesperson calls Shoigu's claim "transparently false," adding, "The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation." To reemphasize the point, the US State Department also banded together with foreign ministers from France and the UK with a statement in which they jointly noted Russia's claims as being untrue and backed up Ukraine's sovereignty. Ukraine, naturally, is also refuting Russia's allegations, claiming that it's Russia itself that's likely planning on setting off such a weapon. Russia is "the source of everything 'dirty' that can be imagined in this war," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, per the BBC.

Zelensky noted that Ukraine's foe is also planning on blowing up a dam in the country's south, as well as spurring a "radiation disaster" at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, agrees that Shoigu's calls were "scare-mongering" tactics, meant to "slow or suspend Western military aid" to Ukraine, and to "possibly weaken" the alliance between the involved NATO countries. However, the think tank notes it's "unlikely" that Russia is prepping to set off a dirty bomb itself, and that instead Shoigu's claims simply "further a longstanding Russian information campaign." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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