What is a dirty bomb and why is Russia talking about it?


Russia has accused Ukraine of planning to use a so-called dirty bomb, an accusation that Kyiv and its Western allies have dismissed as a false flag that Moscow could use to accuse increasing the Kremlin’s war against its neighbor.

A dirty bomb is a weapon that combines conventional explosives such as dynamite with radioactive materials such as uranium. It is often considered a weapon for terrorists, not countries, as it is designed to spread fear and panic more than to eliminate a military target.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s accusations, and Kyiv’s foreign ministry has asked UN inspectors to go to Ukraine to show they have “nothing to hide.”

Here’s what you need to know.

Without evidence, Moscow says there are scientific institutions in Ukraine that have the technology needed to make a dirty bomb – and accuse Kyiv of planning to use it.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on October 24 that it has information that shows that Kyiv is planning a provocation related to the explosion of a dirty bomb.

“The purpose of this provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian theater of operations, thereby launching a strong anti-Russian campaign in the world aimed at reduce confidence in Moscow,” said Igor Kirillov, head of Russia’s Radiation Agency. , Chemical and Biological Defense Forces.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the claim in a phone call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Oct. 23, according to a U.S. official familiar with the conversation.

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Shoigu had similar comments to his French and British counterparts.

Russia plans to raise its allegations against Ukraine at the UN Security Council on October 25, according to Reuters.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu drives by the Red Army during a Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2022.

Russia’s allegations have been strongly opposed by Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO, which have accused Moscow of trying to launch its own false flag operation.

“Everyone knows everything, knows who is the source of all the dirty things that will be considered in this war,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his speech at night in October 23.

The White House said on October 24 that it is “monitoring as much as we can” possible preparations for the use of a cluster bomb in Ukraine but sees nothing to indicate its imminent use. kill

The UN nuclear watchdog said on October 24 that it would allow inspectors to visit two nuclear sites in Ukraine after receiving a request from authorities in Kyiv.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was “aware of the Russian Federation’s comments on Tuesday regarding alleged activities at two nuclear sites in Ukraine,” according to information on its website. the office.

The IAEA did not release the location of the two sites.

In a tweet on October 24, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said: “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has remained calm and transparent. We have nothing to hide.


The explosion from a garbage bomb is made by conventional explosives. Blast from a nuclear weapon results from a nuclear reaction, such as the atomic bombs dropped by the US on Japan during World War II.

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“A nuclear bomb creates an explosion thousands to millions of times more powerful than conventional types of explosives used in a nuclear bomb,” according to a fact sheet from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS ).

A blast from a nuclear weapon can flatten entire cities. For example, the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki in 1945, covering 2.6 square miles (6.2 square kilometers) of the city, according to ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Conventional explosives in a cluster bomb will simply flatten or destroy some buildings.

Meanwhile, the mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion can cover tens to hundreds of square miles, spreading fine particles of nuclear material – radioactive fallout – over that area, according to DHS.

Most of the radiation from a dirty bomb is spread over a few city blocks or a few square miles, according to DHS.


In 1995, Chechen rebels planted but did not kill anyone in a Moscow park, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

There have been rumors that terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda or ISIS have developed dirty bombs, but nothing has been confirmed.

According to the DHS, it is unlikely that a dirty bomb would be able to release doses of radiation “to cause significant health and disease effects to a large number of people.”

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The Texas Department of Health explains why.

To build a dirty bomb capable of delivering a lethal dose of radiation, a large amount of shielding from lead or steel would be needed to avoid killing the creatures during construction.

But using shielding materials makes the bomb large and difficult to move or deploy, it may require heavy equipment and remote control equipment, and the distance the radiation can spread is limited, according to the Texas State Department.

The radiation produced by the trash bomb is equivalent to exposure levels to the amount received from dental X-rays, according to Texas health services.

“It’s like breaking a rock. If someone throws a big rock at you it could hurt you and cause you physical damage,” explained the agency. “If they take the one rock is broken into sand, and then the sand is thrown at you, and you are less likely to be harmed.”

The severity of radiation exposure is affected by exposure over time, according to the DHS. Preventive measures are as simple as walking away.

“Walking a short distance from the site (of an explosion) can provide significant protection because the dose rate and distance from the source are greatly reduced,” DHS said.

People should also cover their noses and mouths to avoid exposure to radiation, go indoors to avoid dust clouds, put their clothes in a plastic bag and then wash them. gently exfoliate their skin to remove impurities, according to DHS.


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