NATO warned Monday Russia must not escalate the conflict in Ukraine with false claims that Kyiv is planning to unleash a so-called “dirty bomb”.
Jens Stoltenberg weighed in following Moscow’s repeated allegations that Ukraine could deploy such a weapon; sparking fears Russia could use one and blame Kyiv.
The head of the US-led military alliance said he had spoken with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace “about Russia’s false claim that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory.”
“NATO Allies reject this allegation. Russia must not use it as a pretext for escalation. We remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter.
Moscow has alleged that Ukraine is close to developing a dirty bomb; and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted the threat is real.
“This is not empty information…there are serious suspicions that such things may be planned”, Lavrov said. He further added, “We have a keen interest in preventing such a terrible provocation.”
But State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington is worried that Russia’s claims could be a cover.
“We have seen a pattern in this conflict and the lead-up to this war where Russians have engaged in mirror-imaging; the Russians have accused the Ukrainians; the Russians have accused other countries of what itself was planning. That is our concern,” Price said.
Basically, a dirty bomb is a conventional weapon laced with radioactive, biological or chemical materials that are disseminated in an explosion.