Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Shoigu by phone twice, on Friday and Sunday. In a recent call, Austin “rejected any pretext for Russian escalation,” according to a readout by Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was “the source of all the filth imaginable in this war.”
The Russian Defense Ministry doubled down on this claim on Monday, posting on Telegram a video of Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, head of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological defense forces. In the video, Kirillov explained that Kyiv was planning a false flag operation that would involve launching dirty bombs and low-yield nuclear warheads into the country.
“The detonation of the radiation explosive device will inevitably lead to radioactive contamination of areas of up to several thousand square meters,” Kirillov said at a briefing on radiation safety threats, according to Russian media.
Another post on the Defense Ministry Telegram showed evidence that two Ukrainian organizations were “directly ordered” to create the so-called Dirty Bomb, a weapon improvised from radioactive nuclear waste and conventional explosives. claimed without.
The Russian military has activated specialized units to protect against potential chemical, biological or nuclear attacks, the Defense Ministry posted on Telegram.
According to the message, “The Ministry of Defense has made preparations to counter a possible Ukrainian provocation. The means and forces are warned to operate in the presence of radioactive contamination.”
Activation “is the kind of thing they would do until[weapons of mass destruction]are imminently used,” said Rand’s Samuel Charup.[weaponsofmassdestruction”SamuelCharapoftheRANDCorpsaid[weaponsofmassdestruction”SamuelCharapoftheRANDCorpsaid
The Defense Department’s statement was “a matter of concern,” said a senior U.S. government official who, like others cited in the article, agreed to speak on condition of anonymity to discuss internal reactions.
The round trip comes as Ukraine prepares for a new offensive to recapture the southern city of Kherson amid reports that Russia is setting conditions for its withdrawal from the strategic city.
Meanwhile, US officials expect Iranian surface-to-surface missiles to be shipped to Russia “soon” for use in Ukraine, according to a senior Pentagon official.
Alexander Ward contributed to this report.