Russia claimed that Ukraine is planning to detonate a dirty bomb. In recent telephonic conversations between Moscow and the West, the country’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed Ukraine.
Shoigu talked about the ongoing war that caused massive food and fuel crises globally. Russia’s defence ministry said that Shoigu discussed Ukraine with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace following earlier calls with his French and Turkish counterparts.
Shoigu “conveyed to his British colleague his concern about possible provocations by Ukraine with the use of a ‘dirty bomb’,” the ministry said in a statement.
While responding to the claims, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised Shoigu’s accusations. Zelensky said on social media: “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this. I believe that now the world should react as harshly as possible.”
What is a “dirty bomb”?
The so-called “dirty bomb” is a conventional explosive device that is laced with toxic nuclear material. Instead of producing an atomic explosion that would level a whole city, dirty bombs are made to disperse poisonous waste.
Security experts have been more concerned about them as a type of terrorist weapon that may be deployed in cities to terrorise civilians than as a tactical tool for use by opposing sides in combat.
Since the majority of people in an impacted area would be able to flee before receiving lethal quantities of radiation, experts believe the immediate health impact would likely be minimal.
But the need to flee metropolitan areas or even abandon entire cities could cause significant economic harm.
An evacuation of several city blocks would likely be necessary for the event that a bomb made of radioactive caesium from a lost or stolen medical device was detonated, making the area dangerous for decades.
In a background article on dirty bombs, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, said: “A dirty bomb is not a weapon of mass destruction but a ‘weapon of mass disruption’, where contamination and anxiety are the major objectives.”
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