Russia accuses Ukraine of planning to use so-called dirty bombs, but Kyiv and its Western allies are using it as a false flag operation that Russia can use as an excuse to escalate the Kremlin’s war against its neighbor. , has dismissed this claim.
A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines a conventional explosive like dynamite with a radioactive material like uranium. It is often referred to as a weapon for terrorists rather than nations because it is designed to spread fear and panic rather than eliminate military targets.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s accusations, and Kyiv’s foreign minister has invited UN inspectors to visit Ukraine to show that they have “nothing to hide”.
Here’s what you should know:
Without providing evidence, Russia claims that Ukraine has a scientific institution housing the technology needed to make dirty bombs, and accuses Kyiv of planning to use it.
At a briefing on October 24, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had information indicating that Kyiv was planning a provocation linked to the dirty bomb detonation.
“The purpose of this provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian theater of operations, thereby launching a powerful anti-Russian campaign worldwide aimed at undermining confidence in Moscow. ” argued Igor Kirillov, the chief of the Russian Radiological Service. , chemical and biological protection.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the allegations in a phone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Oct. 23, according to a US official familiar with the conversation.
Shoigu made similar comments to his French and British counterparts.
After a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on October 25, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador to the UN told reporters that his country had two facilities in Ukraine that could be working on making dirty bombs. He said he had told the board that he was thinking about it.
Russia’s claims have been strongly refuted by Ukraine, the US, the UK, the European Union and NATO, who have accused Russia of trying to launch its own false flag operation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech on the evening of October 23, “Everyone understands everything very well, and who is the source of all the filth imaginable in this war.
The White House said on Oct. 24 that it was “monitoring as much as possible” the possible use of Dirty Bombs in Ukraine, but it had not seen anything that indicated an imminent use of such a weapon.
The UN nuclear watchdog said on October 24 that it would send inspectors to visit two nuclear facilities in Ukraine following a request from Kyiv authorities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was “aware of statements made by the Russian Federation on Sunday regarding alleged activity at two nuclear facilities in Ukraine,” according to a news release on its website. .
The IAEA did not disclose the locations of the two sites.
In a tweet on October 24, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleva said, “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
The blast from dirty bombs is produced by regular explosives. A blast from a nuclear weapon is produced by a nuclear reaction, such as the atomic bomb dropped on Japan by the United States in World War II.
According to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fact sheet, “Nuclear bombs produce explosions thousands to millions of times more powerful than conventional explosives that may be used in dirty bombs. ”.
A blast from a nuclear weapon can flatten an entire city. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 destroyed his 2.6 square miles (6.2 square kilometers) of the city of Nagasaki, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN. Dirty bomb conventional explosives only flatten or damage some buildings.
Meanwhile, the mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion could spread over tens to hundreds of square miles, and radioactive fallout, fine particles of nuclear material, could spread over the area, DHS said.
Most of the radioactive material from a contaminated bomb would spread over a few city blocks or a few square miles, according to DHS.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Chechen rebels planted one in a Moscow park in 1995 but were unable to detonate it.
There are reports that terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS have built or attempted to build dirty bombs, but none have exploded.
The DHS says dirty bombs are unlikely to release high enough radiation to “cause immediate health effects or death in large numbers.”
The Texas Department of Health Services explains why.
To make a dirty bomb capable of emitting lethal amounts of radiation would require large amounts of shielding from lead or steel to keep the materials from killing the makers during construction, it said. there is
But such shielding would make the bomb bulkier, more difficult to move and deploy, might require heavy equipment and remote control tools, and limit the spread of radiation, according to Texas agencies. be done.
According to the Texas Health Service, radiation from contaminated bombs can cause levels of exposure similar to those received from dental x-rays.
“It’s like breaking a rock. If someone threw a big stone at you, it could probably hurt you and cause physical damage.” Even if you were to take a grain of it and throw that sand at you, it would be much less likely that it would do you any real harm.”
According to the DHS, the severity of radiation injury is affected by exposure over time. Prevention is as easy as walking away.
“Dose rates drop dramatically with distance from the source, so even a short distance from the scene (of an explosion) can provide significant protection,” DHS said.
According to the DHS, people should cover their noses and mouths to avoid ingesting radiation, go indoors to avoid dust clouds, dump their clothes in plastic bags, and gently wash their skin to remove contaminants.