- Biden: ‘Serious mistake’ if Russia used tactical nuke
- Putin says Russia must speed up decision-making in case of conflict
- Berlin hosts the conference on the reconstruction of the “Marshall Plan”
NEAR KHERSON FRONTLINE, Ukraine, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Russia took to the UN Security Council on Tuesday the case that Ukraine is preparing to use a “dirty bomb” on its own territory, a claim dismissed by Western and Ukrainian officials as disinformation and a pretext to escalate the war.
Moscow sent a letter detailing the allegations to the United Nations on Monday, and Russia raised the issue in a closed meeting with the Security Council.
“We are quite satisfied because we have raised awareness,” Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters. “I don’t mind people saying Russia is crying wolf if it doesn’t happen because it’s a terrible, terrible catastrophe that potentially threatens the whole of the Earth.”
He said the evidence was in intelligence information that had been shared with Western counterparts with the “necessary level of clearance”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated Russia’s allegations on Tuesday and said the West had been foolish to dismiss them.
They are following indications from Moscow that it may be forced to use a tactical nuclear weapon against Ukraine, whose President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the dirty bomb allegation showed that Moscow was planning such an attack and seeking to blame Kyiv.
As Ukrainian forces advanced into Russian-occupied Kherson province, threatening a major defeat for Moscow, Russian officials telephoned their Western counterparts on Sunday and Monday to express their suspicions.
Russia has accused the Kyiv government of ordering two organizations to create a dirty bomb, an explosive device containing radioactive material, without providing any evidence.
France, Britain and the United States have said the allegations are “manifestly false” and Washington has warned Russia that any nuclear use will have “serious consequences”.
“Russia would be making an incredibly grave mistake if it (used) a tactical nuclear weapon,” US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. “I can’t guarantee you yet that this is a false flag operation, we don’t know that. But that would be a big mistake.”
Britain’s deputy ambassador to the UN, James Kariuki, told reporters: “This is pure Russian disinformation of the kind we’ve seen many times before and it should stop.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said the purpose of a dirty bomb attack by Ukraine would be to blame Moscow for the radioactive contamination, which it said Russia had begun to prepare for.
In an apparent response to Moscow’s allegations, the UN’s nuclear watchdog said it was preparing to send inspectors to two unidentified Ukrainian sites at Kyiv’s request, both of which were already subject to its inspections.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters that inspectors would be given full access, and he called on Moscow to show the same transparency as Ukraine.
Russian state news agency RIA identified what it said were the two sites involved – the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in the central Dnipropetrovsk region and the Kyiv Institute of Nuclear Research. .
President Vladimir Putin has not spoken publicly about the dirty bomb allegations, but said on Tuesday Russia needed to streamline decision-making in what it calls its “special military operation” to rid its neighbor of extremists. Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to seize territory.
Putin, speaking at the first meeting of a new council to manage the work of government, said increased coordination of government structures and regions was needed.
MORE HELP FOR UKRAINE?
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday for his first visit since the invasion of Russia on February 24 as Berlin hosted what he described as a “Marshall Plan” conference to rebuild Ukraine, a reference to the American initiative to rebuild the West. Europe at the end of World War II.
Thousands of people have been killed and homes and factories destroyed since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
Since Russian forces suffered major defeats in September, Putin has redoubled his efforts, calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists, announcing the annexation of occupied territories and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons.
Steinmeier said Berlin was working to help Ukraine with air defense equipment and would focus on helping with repairs to infrastructure such as power grids before the onset of winter.
Zelenskiy told the Berlin conference via video link that Russian rockets and Iranian-made drones had destroyed more than a third of his country’s energy sector, but that Kyiv had yet to receive “a single penny” for it. a stimulus package worth $17 billion.
The European Commission has urged EU countries and companies to make more donations to Ukraine’s energy sector.
“When we win this war, history will remember those who stood by our side in our darkest hours as well as those who openly supported the aggressor,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. tweet. “But above all, he will remember those who stood idly by and pretended they hadn’t seen genocide happening in the middle of Europe.”
In southern Ukraine, Russia has ordered civilians in Kherson to evacuate territory it controls on the west bank of the Dnipro, where Ukrainian forces advanced this month after Russia claimed it had annexed The area.
A Russian defeat there would be one of its biggest setbacks in the conflict.
A Reuters reporter in a remote hamlet near part of the Kherson frontline heard no artillery or gunfire.
Residents of the village, who cannot be identified under Ukrainian military regulations, said they hoped the Russian forces that had shelled them in the past would withdraw soon.
“You fall asleep at night and you don’t know if you will wake up,” said Mikola Nizinets, 39, as dozens of villagers waited to collect water, food packets and simple wood-burning stoves delivered by aid volunteers.
With no electricity or gas and little food or clean water in the area, many residents have fled, abandoning livestock to wander among spent ammunition spilling out of the ground.
Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Doina Chiacu, Andrew Osborn, Nick Macfie and Grant McCool; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, William Maclean and Cynthia Osterman
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