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Ukraine War: What Are 'Dirty Bombs' And Why Is Russia Suddenly Talking About Them?
The event is likely to have a small biological effect on local populations, and that the main concern is the explosion itself!
By: The Conversation
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, the threat that weapons of mass destruction would be used has been a constant concern. Discussion of this threat has tended to focus on the possibility that Russia might resort to using its nuclear arsenal – something hinted at several times by the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his senior colleagues.
On October 23 the Russian defence minister called his British, French and Turkish counterparts to claim that Ukraine was planning to use a "dirty bomb". The claim has widely been interpreted as a possible "false flag" operation by the Kremlin which might indicate that it is Russia that is planning to deploy such a weapon and blame it on Ukraine. But what are dirty bombs and have they ever been used?
The term refers to a device that uses conventional explosive mixed with radioactive materials designed to contaminate large areas. In a letter to the UN Security Council on October 24, Russia claimed that Ukraine is planning to use these devices at two sites inside its own territory. These are the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in the central Dnipropetrovsk region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv.
It is not the first time Russia has accused Ukraine of using weapons of mass destruction. In March 2022, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council that Russia had discovered evidence of US-funded biological weapons research in Ukraine.
The radioactive materials used in a dirty bomb would probably not create enough radiation exposure to cause immediate serious illness or future detectable increases in cancer rates.
The Conversation is a nonprofit,
independent news organization.