Andrii Derkach, a former Ukrainian politician made claims, in an interview with the Belarus BelTA news channel, that Kyiv was involved in plots to manufacture and use so-called dirty bombs or “poor man’s nuclear weapons,” the independent Russian news site Insider reports, reported in one of its “Fake News” series of articles.

A “dirty bomb” or radiological weapon refers to the idea of deploying a device in which conventional explosives are used to spread radioactive material over a large area, contaminating it so that it can no longer be used by military (or civilian) personnel.

Derkach asserted that Ukraine’s special services were gathering radioactive material stored at sites controlled by the Radon state-owned enterprise for this purpose.

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There are five Radon facilities for the interim storage of radioactive waste – located in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv.

Derkach fled Ukraine shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion and was later stripped of his citizenship after being accused of being an agent of Russia’s GRU military intelligence who had been involved in Russian attempts to interfere with the 2020 US elections.

He is quoted in the Russian state news site Vesti as saying that the use of nuclear blackmail by Ukrainian authorities is the norm.

“They did this before the start of the SVO [Russia’s so-called special military operation] and during the SVO,” Derkach said. “We must speak about this information so that Kyiv’s partners in the West cannot claim to be unaware [that it’s happening]. Perhaps we should ask: do they know about it, participate in it or lead this process of escalation?”

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US officials say if Russia successfully develops the weapon, it could disable American satellites, including the Starlink satellite network, which is crucial for Ukraine’s warfighting ability.

This is not the first time that Russia, or its proxies such as Derkach, have accused Ukraine of having and threatening to use dirty bombs.

In March 2022, the Russian Interfax news agency cited unnamed sources saying that Ukraine was assembling “dirty bombs” in the Chornobyl nuclear power plant exclusion zone, using its increased background radiation to camouflage the activity.

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It then said that when Russia launched its February 2022 invasion, Kyiv tried to “cover its tracks.”

Were this true, they must have been successful, as no evidence of such operations was uncovered during Russia’s six-week occupation of the plant and surrounding area.

That November of the same year, then-Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Ukraine was preparing a “dirty bomb” false flag operation which they would blame on Russia.

In response, Ukraine invited inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to examine all of its nuclear power plants, radiological storage sites and other locations, such as the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, where radioactive sources were stored and used.

The inspections were carried out between February and April and the IAEA’s report gave Ukraine a “clean bill of health,” finding no evidence of any work on radiological weapons.

Wolfgang Richter, a retired Bundeswehr colonel and military expert at the Berlin Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP) told the Deutsche Welle news site: “The use of a ‘dirty bomb,’ in my opinion, is not only irresponsible, but also absurd – after all, depending on where it is detonated, the explosion may harm one’s own troops or the population that was declared ‘ours’ after annexation.”

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In the same article, Israeli military expert Yigal Levin said that “Russia is deliberately fast-tracking this information noise – not least to cause fear and confusion among Ukraine’s Western allies. Such loud ‘stuffing’ no matter how absurd it may be, aims to make not only the Ukrainian authorities, but also the rest of the world react.”

The Insider was unequivocal in branding Derkach’s latest claim about Ukraine’s “dirty bombs,” as all those made by Russia before, as propaganda and FAKE NEWS.

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