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, a charge Kiev and its Western allies have dismissed as a false flag operation that Moscow could use as a pretext to escalate 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 called a weapon of terrorists rather than a weapon of nations because it is designed more to spread fear and panic than to eliminate any military target.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Moscow’s accusations, and Kiev’s foreign minister has invited UN inspectors to visit Ukraine to show they have “nothing to hide.”

Here’s what you need to know.

Without providing any evidence, Moscow claims that Ukraine has scientific facilities with the technology needed to build a dirty bomb and accuses Kiev of planning to use it.

Russian Ministry of Defense on October 24. in the held briefing stated that it has information indicating that Kyiv is planning a provocation related to the detonation of a dirty bomb.

“The aim of this provocation is to accuse Russia of using weapons of mass destruction in the Ukrainian theater of operations and thus launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world aimed at undermining confidence in Moscow,” asserted the head of Russian Radio, Igor Kirillov. , Chemical and Biological Defense Forces.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said this on October 23, according to a US official familiar with the conversation. in a conversation with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Shoigu also made similar comments to his French and British counterparts.

Russia plans to present its accusations against Ukraine at the UN Security Council on October 25, Reuters reports.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rides through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow in 2022.  May 9

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

“Everyone understands everything well, they understand who is the source of all the dirt that can be imagined in this war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on October 23.

The White House on October 24. stated that they are watching “as best as we can” for any possible preparations to use a dirty bomb in Ukraine, but see nothing to indicate that such a weapon will be used.

UN nuclear watchdog on October 24. announced that the inspector will visit two nuclear sites in Ukraine at the request of Kyiv authorities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was “aware of Sunday’s statements by the Russian Federation regarding alleged activities at two Ukrainian nuclear sites,” according to a press release posted on the agency’s website.

The IAEA did not provide a two-seat location.

October 24 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Twitter: “Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide.”


The explosion of a dirty bomb is caused by conventional explosives. A nuclear explosion is caused by a nuclear reaction, such as the atomic bombs dropped by the US on Japan during World War II.

“A nuclear bomb produces an explosion that is thousands or millions of times more powerful than any conventional explosive that could be used in a dirty bomb,” according to a fact sheet from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A nuclear explosion can flatten entire cities. For example, in 1945 The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki destroyed 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 dirty bomb can level or damage only a few buildings.

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

According to DHS, most of the radioactive material from the dirty bomb would have spread over several city blocks or several square miles.


According to the data of the Council on Foreign Relations, in 1995 Chechen rebels detonated one in a Moscow park, but failed.

There have been reports that terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or ISIS have built or attempted to build a dirty bomb, but none have been detonated.

DHS says it is unlikely that a dirty bomb could deliver high enough doses of radiation “to cause immediate health effects or death in large numbers of people.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services explains why.

It is said that creating a dirty bomb capable of releasing lethal doses of radiation would require a large amount of shielding from lead or steel to prevent the material from killing its makers during construction.

But using such a shielding material would make the bomb unwieldy, difficult to move or deploy, and likely require heavy equipment and remote control tools, limiting the spread of radiation, the Texas state agency said.

Texas health officials say the radiation produced by the dirty bomb would cause similar exposure levels to dental X-rays.

“It’s like splitting a rock. If someone threw a large rock at you, it would likely injure you and cause you physical harm,” explains the department. “If they take the same rock and break it up into grains of sand and then throw the sand at you, it’s much less likely to do you any real damage.”

According to the DHS, the severity of radiation sickness is affected by exposure over time. Preventive measures can be as simple as taking a walk.

“Walking even a short distance from the scene (of an explosion) can provide significant protection because the dose rate decreases dramatically with distance from the source,” DHS says.

People should also cover their nose and mouth to avoid ingesting any radiation, go indoors to avoid a dust cloud, dispose of clothing in a plastic bag and gently wash their skin to remove contaminants, DHS said.


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