MOSCOW, October 25. /TASS/. The threat that Kiev could detonate a dirty bomb has the potential to resurrect diplomatic ties Russia used to have with leading Western countries, Andrey Kortunov, director general at the Russian International Affairs Council think tank, told TASS on Tuesday.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on October 23 informed US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that Kiev is preparing a provocation. That means Shoigu and Austin spoke twice over the past week. Russia’s Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Valery Gerasimov also held talks with his counterparts in the US and UK.
Kortunov commented on Russian concerns that Ukraine could detonate a dirty bomb by saying it’s important to prevent the nuclear agenda from "falling prey to current political affairs" and becoming directly dependent on regional conflicts. That policy would heighten the "risk of escalation" of the crisis, the analyst said.
"It will be important to separate the nuclear aspect from all other aspects, any regional crises, including the crisis around Ukraine. It seems to me that [geopolitical actors] generally have that understanding, although it’s not always possible, of course, to fully understand each other's needs," he said.
Kortunov said that the need to remove the nuclear dimension from the further development of the situation around Ukraine could soon intensify the dialogue between the foreign ministries of some countries, such as Russia, the US, the UK, France and Turkey.
"Talks are ongoing. At least they are at the level of defense ministers, and as far as we can see, these conversations are quite constructive," he continued. "We know that there have been conversations between the Russian defense minister and his counterparts in the West. Next, some communication on this issue may be re-established between foreign ministries."
The analyst also mentioned a letter that Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s envoy to the UN, on Monday sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The letter cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that Kiev could lean on support from Western countries in staging its dirty-bomb provocation. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that Ukraine had already started to implement the plan.
Kortunov said, "Now, probably, nothing can be ruled out, especially after the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, but it still seems to me it would clearly be too much [for the West], because it’s very difficult to keep this kind of information secret, and the consequences of exposing this kind of special operation would be very serious for those who could plan and carry out this operation. The political risks of that are high."
A UN source told TASS on Monday that Russia proposed that the UN Security Council convene on October 25 to discuss information that Kiev is preparing a dirty-bomb provocation. Head of the Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said earlier that "two Ukrainian organizations have specific instructions to make a so-called dirty bomb, and the work is in its final stage." He said the substances that are required to make a dirty bomb are available to Ukraine at its nuclear power plants including the Chernobyl plant, and at mining enterprises, while the country also has sufficient research capabilities in Kiev and Kharkov.