The defense minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu, recently made several phone calls to the defense ministries of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), France, and Turkey; alleging that Ukraine was posed to launch a so-called “dirty bomb”. The UK, US, and France almost immediately denied the allegations, with the US Department of Defense stating on the allegations that “the United States rejects the public and false allegations by Russia about Ukraine and any attempt to use them as a pretext for further Russian escalation of its unlawful and unjustified war against Ukraine”. (Department of Defense) A “dirty bomb” is an explosive which uses fissile nuclear material to create an explosion which leaves behind radioactive waste, much like a nuclear bomb, but on a smaller scale. Many people speculate and fear that Russia is attempting to falsify allegations of a Ukrainian dirty bomb to justify them utilizing nuclear missiles on the country. These fears were only flamed again recently after Ukraine’s national nuclear/electrical power management company, Energoatom (translated to Atomic Energy), stated in a public press release on their official website that “During the last week, the russian occupationists have been carrying out unauthorized construction works on the territory of the Dry Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility (DSNFSF) at the Zaporizhzhya NPP. The Russian military conducts these works by themselves, in secret. Ukrainian personnel and the IAEA representatives present at the ZNPP site are not allowed to the construction site.” (Energoatom Press Release)
A Russian Armed Forces member outside of Reactor Building One at the NPP. (Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images/Bulletin of Atomic Scientists/Image taken during Press Tour organized by Russian Forces)
Energoatom also stated that the construction which Russia was conducting was illegal under international law and also violated the contract that Russian forces had taken to operate the plant during their occupation. At a speech in Moscow on Thursday night, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, stated that the bomb (which Ukraine was supposedly creating) was going to be used to “scare opponents into thinking what a bad country Russia is.” American president Joe Biden told reporters that “I’m not guaranteeing it’s a false-flag operation yet. We don’t know, but it would be a serious, serious mistake (by Russia)”. Russia has consistently denied the allegations that this was a false-flag operation. A “false-flag operation” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “ a hostile or harmful action (such as an attack) that is designed to look like it was perpetrated by someone other than the person or group responsible for it” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). False-Flag operations have been common in prior wars, including in Proxy Conflicts. As of now, Russia has not made any clear statements on its construction at the NPP, and this article will be updated in the future with more information on this event.