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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Moscow to Address Ukraine ‘Dirty Bomb’ Issue at U.N.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia’s accusations against Ukraine mean that Russia itself is armed and ready to unleash this plan

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UKRAINE: Moscow reiterated its plans to subdue Kyiv’s scheme to use a “dirty bomb” in the ongoing conflict and has threatened to present and address the issue at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday despite major rebuttals and backlash from Western countries.

Russia framed a letter on its various assertions about Kyiv and sent it to the United Nations late on Monday.

Diplomats revealed that Moscow planned to raise the issue at the Security Council at a private meeting the following day.

In the letter, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council that “we will regard the use of the dirty bomb by the Kyiv regime as an act of nuclear terrorism.”

The ongoing conflict has witnessed major developments in the last few weeks, with Ukrainian forces gradually gaining ground in Russian-occupied Kherson province, prompting top Russian officials to contact their Western counterparts on Sunday and Monday to voice their suspicions.

Moscow failed to garner support from the foreign ministers of France, Britain, and the United States, who rejected Russia’s allegations as “transparently false” and reiterated their support for the Ukrainian cause.

In a joint statement, they said “the world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation.” Later, the United States also issued a warning statement to Russia.

“We’ve been very clear with the Russians about the severe consequences that would result from nuclear use,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “Whether Russia uses a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb, there will be consequences.”

Russia’s defence ministry has revealed Ukraine’s true motives for using the “dirty bomb”: to blame Moscow for the resulting retaliatory attack of “radioactive contamination”.

The ministry said it has begun to reinforce its resources and protective hardware in anticipation of this deadly attack, to “perform tasks in conditions of radioactive contamination”.

Meanwhile, persistent Russian talks of a “dirty bomb” have elicited concern from a U.N. nuclear watchdog, which has announced its swift preparations to send inspectors to two unidentified Ukrainian sites and assess the ground reality.

Both sites have been subjected to thorough inspections, while one was inspected just a month ago, it revealed.

Russian state media RIA had earlier identified what it said were the two sites involved in the operation-the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in the central Dnipropetrovsk region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv.

U.S. officials have dismissed reports that Russia had decided to deploy a dirty bomb or any other nuclear weapon.

“We continue to see nothing in the way of preparations by the Russian side for the use of nuclear weapons,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

However, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia’s accusations against Ukraine mean only one thing: that Russia itself is armed and ready to unleash this plan.

“If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this,” Zelenskyy said in an address.

Moreover, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he had interacted with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday night and discussed the possible “ways to end Russia’s nuclear blackmail”.

In other news, the Russian military has been urgently conducting safety evacuation measures in the Kherson region, which now confronts an approaching Ukrainian offensive after Putin’s referendum annexed the area.

Ukraine’s military said that Russian-installed authorities in Kherson were busy evacuating banks, administrative facilities, and emergency services and personnel. Funding for schools and school meals has stopped as well.

It said the Internet connection in the area was heavily compromised as routers and hardware were stolen, while residential robberies and looting were also rampant, it said.

Kherson is a strategic region that controls the link to Crimea, the peninsula that Russia seized and annexed in 2014.

Its regional capital is also the only big city that Russia has been able to capture and retain as it is since the beginning of Putin’s “special military operation” on February 24.

Ukraine’s military dismisses Russian reports of the evacuation of critical army personnel as hogwash and says that it is a strategic move to deflect the enemy.

“They are creating the illusion that all is lost. Yet at the same time, they are moving new military units in and preparing to defend the streets of Kherson, “Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military spy chief, told the Ukrainska Pravda online media outlet.

Russia suffered major setbacks in September following Ukraine’s counter-offensive measures from the start of August till now, at their ultimate peaks in September.

Consequently, Putin was compelled to compensate for the loss with the declaration of mandatory military conscription of nearly 300,000 Russian men, to the dismay of his countrymen.

Several thousand fled to nearby countries to escape the war, while those who have signed up have done so at their own risk.

Video footage on social media has revealed that in some battalions, soldiers were ordered to bring their own first-aid kit.

Some revealed they had been sent off to the frontlines to fight without being given adequate military training, despite promises of battlefield training and exercise prior to on-ground fighting.

With conscriptions and Western sanctions on its back, Russia appears to be in a pickle, and it is now threatening to use its nuclear arsenal to preserve whatever hold it has over Ukrainian territories.

Also Read: Russian Shelling Causes Blackouts in Ukraine, Many More Flee Kherson Violence

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