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ussian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed in rare phone calls that included his counterparts from the United States, Britain, France, and Turkey that Ukrainian forces are preparing a “provocation” with a radioactive device. A Kremlin statement cited that he conveyed a warning over “possible Ukrainian provocations involving a ‘dirty bomb’”.
Shoigu’s office said in follow-up that he conveyed the warning to all the above-named countries’ defense chiefs. As for his conversation with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, it was the second phone call in merely three days. The Pentagon in the hours after said Austin told Shoigu he “rejected any pretext for Russian escalation” – which strongly suggests the US perceives that Moscow is about to heighten attacks on Ukrainian cities further:
Russian authorities repeatedly have made allegations that Ukraine could detonate a dirty bomb in a false flag attack and blame it on Moscow. Ukrainian authorities, in turn, have accused the Kremlin of hatching such a plan.
The Kremlin is further charging that this low-intensity nuclear provocation is being prepared with the help of Great Britain; however, the Western allies have said no evidence whatsoever was presented in the phone calls alongside the accusations.
The UK defense ministry said in its statement following Shoigu’s phone call with Secretary Ben Wallace that the Russian side “alleged that Ukraine was planning actions facilitated by Western countries, including the UK, to escalate the conflict in Ukraine.”