Russia takes Ukraine ‘dirty bomb’ warning to U.N. as Kherson braces

  • US warns Moscow against any nuclear use
  • Russia prepares forces for radioactive contamination work
  • Moscow plans to protect the city of Kherson – Kiev’s spy chief
  • Berlin hosts “Marshall Plan” reconstruction conference.

UNITED NATIONS/KYIV, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Russia doubled down on a warning that Ukraine is preparing to use a “dirty bomb” on its territory, a claim dismissed by the West and Kiev as false and expected to bring issue at the UN Security Council later on Tuesday.

Moscow sent a letter to the United Nations detailing its accusations against Kiev late Monday, and diplomats said Russia planned to raise the issue at a closed-door meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday.

“We will consider the use of the dirty bomb by the Kiev regime as an act of nuclear terrorism,” Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council in the first letter from Reuters.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia’s accusation was a sign that Moscow – which has threatened to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine – was planning such an attack and was preparing to shift the blame to Ukraine.

With Ukrainian forces advancing into Russian-occupied Kherson province, senior Russian officials had called their Western counterparts on Sunday and Monday to express their misgivings.

France, Britain and the United States said the allegations were “transparently false” and Washington warned Russia that there would be “severe consequences” for any nuclear use, while saying there were no signs of that yet.

“There would be consequences for Russia if it uses a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. The White House said there was no indication that Russia had decided to use a dirty bomb or any nuclear weapons.

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

The Russian defense ministry said the aim of a “dirty bomb” attack by Ukraine would be to blame Moscow for the resulting radioactive contamination, which Russia had begun to prepare for.

The UN nuclear watchdog said it was preparing to send inspectors to two unnamed Ukrainian sites at Kiev’s request, both already subject to its inspections, in an apparent response to Russia’s “dirty bomb” claim. Read more

Russia’s state news agency RIA has 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 Kiev.

MORE AID FOR UKRAINE?

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday in his first visit since Russia’s February 24 invasion and was to meet Zelenskiy, German broadcaster ntv reported, after Berlin hosted what it said was a conference on a “Plan Marshall” to rebuild Ukraine. .

Zelenskiy told the conference via video link that Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones had destroyed more than a third of his country’s energy sector, but that Kiev had yet to get “a single cent” towards a recovery plan. quickly worth 17 billion dollars.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen mentioned that the World Bank puts the cost of reconstruction at 350 billion euros ($345 billion).

In southern Ukraine, Russia has ordered civilians to evacuate territory it controls on the west bank of the Dnipro River, where Ukrainian forces have advanced this month after Russia claimed it had annexed the area.

A defeat for Russia there would be one of the biggest setbacks since its invasion.

Ukraine’s military said Russian-installed authorities in Kherson were evacuating banks, administrative facilities and emergency service and medical personnel, while funding for schools and school meals had been halted. Equipment used by Internet service providers had been stolen and robberies of residents and looting had increased, he said.

Reuters could not verify the report.

The regional capital of Kherson is the only major city that Russia has captured intact since the invasion began, and its only foothold on the western bank of the Dnipro, which bisects Ukraine. The province controls the gateway to Crimea, the peninsula that Russia seized and claims to annex in 2014.

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, said Russian forces were preparing to defend the city of Kherson, not withdraw.

“They are creating the illusion that all is lost. However, at the same time they are moving new military units and preparing to defend the streets of Kherson,” he told online media outlet Ukrainska Pravda.

Since Russian forces suffered major defeats in September, President Vladimir Putin has escalated the war, calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists, declaring annexation of occupied territory and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian soil.

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Reporting by Reuters bureau; Writing by Doina Chiacu/Andrew Osborn Editing by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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