Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Wednesday that Ukraine is planning to use a so-called dirty bomb, echoing a Kremlin accusation that has been refuted by the west, The New York Times reports.
Russian officials have claimed in recent days without offering any evidence that Ukraine plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which uses explosives to spread radioactive material.
Putin repeated the claim on Wednesday as the Russian military conducted annual nuclear missile tests. He claimed that the United States was providing Ukraine with “heavy weapons” and the risk of conflict is high.
“It is also known about plans to use a so-called dirty bomb for provocation,” Putin said.
Russia has not provided any evidence of its claim.
Biden issues warning:
President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned Putin that it would be an “incredibly serious mistake” to use nuclear weapons amid concerns that the Kremlin is using the baseless claim as pretext for an escalation.
Biden said it is uncertain whether Russia plans to execute a “false flag operation” to blame Ukraine.
“Let me just say: Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it to use a tactical nuclear weapon,” Biden said. “I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false flag operation yet, don’t know, but it would be a serious, serious mistake.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed over the weekend that Ukraine plans to detonate a “dirty bomb,” a claim Russian officials repeated in calls to NATO nations.
The United States issued a joint statement with the U.K. and France pushing back on Shoigu’s claims.
“Earlier today, the defense ministers of each of our countries spoke to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu at his request,” the statement said.
“Our countries made clear that we all reject Russia’s transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory. The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation. We further reject any pretext for escalation by Russia.”