Russia has accused Ukraine of wanting to use “dirty bombs”, claims denied by Kyiv: but what is it and what is the difference with atomic weapons? The question will come before the UN Security Council.
For days there has been nothing but talk of “dirty bombs”. Russia has accused Ukraine of wanting to use them, even though Kiev and the West have called these accusations “patently false”. For his part, President Zelensky accused Moscow of wanting to create a “pretext” to justify a further military escalation.
The matter will come before the UN Security Council today, while experts from the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) will be sent to Ukraine in two Ukrainian plants to “identify any undeclared nuclear activities and materials”. But let’s take a step back to try to understand how it got to this point.
What is the dirty bomb and how is it different from the atomic bomb
First of all, it must be remembered that the dirty bomb or even radiological bomb is made up of explosives – such as dynamite – combined with radioactive material such as the radionuclides Uranium, Cesium, Cobalt. Thus, it strikes both through the initial explosion of conventional explosives and through the radiation and contamination that occurs through the air.
Unlike atomic weapons, they do not use chain nuclear fission triggered by a critical mass of fissile material or the fusion of light atoms such as hydrogen, generating millions of times more power.
Furthermore, while the atomic bomb generates a very wide dispersion of radioactive material, the dirty one can spread radiation in a limited area. So much so that, according to United States Nuclear Regulatory Research, those closest to the explosion of the dirty bomb are more likely to be injured or killed by the detonation than by the radiation.
The mutual accusations of Moscow and Kyiv
The first to launch accusations of wanting to use the dirty bomb was Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Shoigu who, speaking to his French counterpart Lecornu and British Defense Secretary Wallace, expressed “concern over possible provocations by Ukraine. “through the use of a dirty bomb.
Zelensky’s response was immediate, but he spoke of a pretext: “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is preparing something, it means only one thing: that Russia has already prepared it”. The reason would be to justify a further military escalation.
NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg also intervened on the issue, speaking with the American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, defined “the Russian claims, according to which Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on their own territory. Allies reject this accusation. Russia must not use it as a pretext for escalation. We remain firm in our support for Ukraine. “
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an American study center specializing in military analysis, believes that Shoigu with his accusations was trying above all to “slow down or suspend the shipment of weapons from Western countries to Ukraine, and possibly to weaken the alliance with NATO.”
What does the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have to do with the dirty bomb
Also Russia, through the General Staff of the Federation, stated that “the Kiev regime plans to detonate a low-powered nuclear weapon to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction”, with reference, therefore, to the bomb dirty. “They could use radioactive substances from spent nuclear fuel from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to build it,” they added.
What happens now
To clarify the matter, Rafael Grossi, number one of the IAEA, announced that in the next few days he will send inspectors to two Ukrainian plants to “identify any undeclared nuclear activities and materials”: Ukrinform reports. The IAEA chief pointed out that the agency inspected one of these locations a month ago (namely the Zaporizhzhia plant), stressing that “no undeclared nuclear assets or materials were found.”
It was Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who asked Grossi to send experts to the country’s nuclear plants to deny Russian claims that Ukraine intends to use a “dirty bomb”. “We have nothing to hide,” he wrote in a Tweet.
Russia, on the other hand, intends to raise today to the UN Security Council its accusation that Ukraine is planning an attack with “dirty bombs”, directly asking Secretary General Antonio Guterres to do everything possible to “prevent this heinous crime. happen.”