Is Ukraine really developing a dirty bomb? Be careful of Russian claims

© Observers

Ukraine is apparently in the process of developing a so-called dirty bomb – a bomb containing radioactive elements – or, at least, that’s the narrative that Moscow has been peddling since October 23, 2022. The Russian Ministry of Defence posted these claims to Telegram and Twitter, along with illustrated documents meant to support these claims. But the images published in these documents are old and some of them were even taken in Russia.

If you only have a minute:

  • Since October 23, Russia has been accusing Ukraine of developing a dirty bomb, a bomb that combines both conventional explosives and radioactive material.

  • The Russian Ministry of Defence published these claims on Telegram on October 24, along with documents containing photos seeming to support their accusations. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs then shared the same accusations and documents on Twitter.

  • However, the images included in the documents come from a variety of websites and don’t actually offer proof of a bomb being developed in Ukraine. Some of the images were even taken in Russia.

  • For the time being, there is no indication that Ukraine is developing this kind of weapon. Ukraine and its allies say that these accusations are being used as a “pretext for escalation” of the war.

The fact-check, in detail:

Russia has been claiming since Sunday, October 23 that Ukraine is manufacturing a so-called “dirty bomb,” which is made up of conventional explosives as well as radioactive material. These bombs are especially dangerous because they disperse radioactive material during the explosion and contaminate the surrounding area.


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